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THE MAGAZINE OE 


Fantasy and ^ 


SPECIAL 

SUMMER 

ISSUE 


Science Fiction 

y?K 




juKy 


V 40? 

iKi* ’ - ; TRUMAN CAPOTE 

A- J 1 I M ZENNA HENDERSOK 

' - 4L it -- i' § t ! 


RON GOULART VANCE AANDAHL 
AAC ASIMOV KATE WILHELM 


Darfgarth » 

VANCE AANDAHL 

5 

Two’s A Crowd 

SASHA GILIEN 

16 

Master Misery {novelet) 

TRUMAN CAPOTE 

24 

Stanley Toothbrush 

CARL BRANDON 

42 

Subcommittee {novelet) 

ZENNA HENDERSON 

56 

Brown Robert 

TERRY CARR 

75 

Six Haiku {verse) 

KAREN ANDERSON 

80 

My Dear Emily 

JOANNA RUSS 

81 

Science*. Hot Stuff 

ISAAC ASIMOV 

99 

Books 

ALFRED BESTER 

109 

The Man Without A Planet 

KATE WILHELM 

112 

Uncle Arly 

RON GOULART 

119 

Ferdinand Feghoot: LII 

GRENDEL BRIARTON 

127 

Editorial 


4 

In this issue . . . Coming soon 


130 

F&SF Marketplace 


128 

Cover by Mel Hunter {Scene on 
sun by Earth ) 

t the moon during an eclipse of the 

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Volume 23, No. 1, Whole No. 134, July 
1962. Published monthly by Mercury Press, Inc., at 40( a copy. Annual subscription 
$4.50 in U. S. and Possessions, $5.00 in Canada and the Pan American Union; $5.50 
tn all other countries. Publication office, 10 Ferry Street, Concord, N. H. Editorial and 
general mail should be sent to 347 East 53rd St., New York 22, N. Y. Second Class 
postage paid at Concord, N. H. Printed in U. S. A. © 1962 by Mercury Press, Inc. All 
rights, including translations into other languages, reserved. Submissions must be accom- 
panied by stamped, self addressed envelopes; the Publisher assumes no responsibility for 
return of unsolicited manuscripts. 

Joseph W. Ferman, publisher Avratn Davidson, executive editor 

Alfred B ester, book editor Isaac Asimov, contributing science editor 

Robert P. Mills, consulting editor Edward L. Ferman, managing editor 



EDITORIAL 

*'Now that youVe been an editor for some time, how do you like 
it? [writes Mr. Bob Leman, of Bethel Park, Pa.] Do you regret aban- 
doning the gay, mad Bohemian [sic] whirl of the life of a carefree 
[ha! — Ed.] freelancer for a mundane 9-to-5 stint at a desk? Still, 
I suppose it must be a good life, being an editor, lounging about in 
suits of elegant cut and sipping Jasmine [sic] tea while your min- 
ions busily remove manuscripts from envelopes, clip rejection slips 
to them, and fire them back. And don't try and tell me that that’s 
not what happens. I know, because I sent one in once, a crackerjack 
story with a real snapper at the end, and it was sent back with noth- 
ing but a printed rejection slip. If they’d actually read the story 
they would have paid me an enormous sum for it. It describes the 
world after the atomic war, and tells about the last man and the 
last woman. Each thinks himself the last human being. Then, in a 
moving scene, they find each other. And the snapper is that their 
names are Atom and Neve! How about that, fans? You can see diat 
I have here conclusive evidence that editors don’t read manuscripts. 
And now that I’ve told you my plot, if I see this story in F&SF I’ll 
sue your publication for every nickel they’ve got. And cancel my 
subscription.” Mr. L., who obviously contains some curious ideas 
(if the ones he can’t contain are any indication), inquires if it is 
true that our “blurbs . . . carry concealed messages directed to 
the members of a secret society, as rumor has it?” Barely pausing 
for breath, he goes on to say that he “may even finish and submit 
to you the MS of my novel, *Six Against Eternity', a rousing but 
wholesome tale of adventure in outer space, which is now 90,000 
words along and almost half-finished. It contains some spectacularly 
repulsing bug-eyed monsters, and I have devised a number of new 
and ingenious reasons for their removing the clothing from nubile 
women, so the opportunities for eye-catching covers are many . . .” 
and concludes with the final slur that he has “noticed that F&SF 
has had rather drab covers lately.” We are grateful, nonetheless, 
for the letter if only because it contains a classic picture of what 
the life of the Executive Editor is not like and how MSS are not 
treated by our staff. Still, this life has its compensations. The won- 
der-shock we had recently on coming to the end of a new Brian 
Aldiss story is one. The satisfaction of “putting together” a good 
issue is another. And receiving letters like Mr. Leman’s is one, too. 


Avram Davidson 


4 



Perhaps some semblance to the Rocky Mountains of Vance 
AandahTs native Colorado appears in the mountains of 
this story, but the light which shines on them “never shone 
on land or sea” in any past or present found in geography; 
nor does the story seem laid in any future easily platted. 
Yet the story’s foundations can be found in Every land, they 
have their bases in the lusts and imaginings, the vain and 
insatiable desirings, of the human heart; and as they are as 
true to the present as the past, it is likely that they image 
forth the future, alas, as well. On, then, to Mr. AandahTs 
romance of Daif garth, singer of songs and walker of roads. 


DARFGARTH 


by Vance Aandahl 


There once was a man named 
Darf garth. Six feet tall, he was a 
walker of roads : heavy-chested and 
sinew hipped. His body was as 
brown and hardened as the old 
leather clothes which he wore; but 
his hands, though strong, were as 
perfectly formed as a poet s hands. 
In the hot white dust, he seemed 
to be a hungry wolf; but perhaps 
also a laughing child. 

Glistening in the sunlight like a 
brush of soft gold wires, there was 
a thatch of coppery hair; nestled 
under sun-bleached eyebrows, 
there were cornflower eyes — eyes 
that sparkled with the madness of 
cracked glass; next, there was a 


nose like an eagle's; finally, a full, 
sensuous mouth. TTiese features 
were framed in a face that was full 
of the creases and hollows of hard- 
ship, yet oddly soft and unmarred. 

As he paused for a moment, the 
sun fell full across Darfgarth's 
back : strapped there was a mando- 
lin, a small mandolin, delicate and 
ancient. It was made of ebon wood, 
black as night when polished, but 
now salt-and-pepper because of 
the white dust which coated every- 
thing on the road. The hole in the 
sounding box was as bottomless 
and fearful as a snake's mouth; 
but, strangely enough, the strings 
were as beautiful and warming as 


5 



6 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


an angel’s eyes. In this mandolin, 
evil and good were bound inti- 
mately together; thus bound, they 
uttered the song of life. 

Darfgarth had long walked up- 
on a road which led from a great 
plain through a cluster of foothills, 
and into a valley at the base of a 
mountain. On the pine-furred 
mountainslope there was a cabin, 
barely visible itself, but betrayed 
by a thin finger of rising smoke, 
which Darfgarth paused to study. 
In the cabin, there was something 
strange, which appealed to its 
strange counterpart in Darfgarth: 
dignity and nobility, perhaps; or 
merely, perhaps, gross egotism. 

Darfgarth continued his tire- 
some walk, until he came to a tiny, 
secluded village at the base of the 
mountain. He wandered down its 
single, cobblestone street, at the 
end of which there was an inn. He 
stomped into the inn, tossing his 
hair like a lion’s mane. 

‘'Darfgarth! They call me Darf- 
garth!” 

His booming voice was greeted 
by the quiet eyes of a man, typical 
of many men, who had been born, 
was living, and would die, in the 
same place: a little fat man. 

“Rolf Rasmussen.” 

“Mr. Rasmussen, I want a room 
for the night!” 

“I’ve got a room, if you’ve got 
the money.” 

“Shelter for a song?” 

“I can’t do business that way 


business? I’m your first 
visitor in six months. I’ll wager, 
and you try to rob me! I’ll sing for 
the whole village! That ought to 
merit a bed.” 

“If you chop wood for the fire- 
place, and if you sing a good song. 
I’ll give you a room for the night.” 

“Mr. Rasmussen, I’ll do that! 
I’ll chop your wood!” 

“It’s in the back. So’s the ax.” 

After Darfgarth had peeled 
away his shirt and found the ax, 
he began splintering the wood with 
massive strokes. As he did so, he 
often glanced at the cabin on the 
mountainside. It was too close to 
the village to be a trapper’s or a 
hermit’s; it was too far away to be 
a villager’s. Because of the steep- 
ness of the mountainslope, it cer- 
tainly did not belong to a farmer. 
Its location was impossible. 

For a single blurred moment, as 
he brought the ax down on the 
wood, Darfgarth saw two brown 
eyes, mantled in a cloud of auburn 
hair. He looked again, and saw 
nothing. He stood, rubbing his 
neck with poet’s hands and savor- 
ing the warmth of the sun on his 
belly and chest; and then, for the 
rest of the afternoon, he walked 
and talked as though he were in a 
daze. 

“Your name’s Darfgarth.” 

The words shattered Darfgarth’s 
reverie. It was evening, and he was 
sitting at a shadowed table in Ras- 
mussen’s inn. The villagers were 



DARFGARTH 


7 


beginning to collect; perhaps they 
had heard of his coming. 

'Tes/' he said, fondling the neck 
of his mandolin. 

''Quinn’s my name. Lorr 
Quinn.” The villager was thick 
and powerful; there was a ruddy 
glow in his cheeks and a wild Irish 
flame in his eyes. 

"Sit down,” said Darfgarth, 
smiling. Quinn pulled a chair to 
the table, and they sat silently, 
staring at each other through the 
flickering candle flame. Presently, 
Darfgarth began to pluck the 
strings of his mandolin: 

"As I went out to Derby, 

All on the market day, 

I spied the biggest ram, sir, 
That ever did feed on hay. 

And he rambled, and he ram- 
bled, and he rambled . . . 
Till them butchers cut him 
down.” 

Quinn’s eyes glittered in the 
flamelight, and he smiled. 

Darfgarth, disinterested in his 
own music, asked, "Who lives in 
the cabin on the mountainside?” 

Quinn rubbed his chin, meditat- 
ing. "Old Willow. Old woman, 
crazy in the head. She’s got a boy.” 

"What’s she do?” 

"Nothing much. Lives ofiF the 
land, far as I can tell.” 

Just then, Rasmussen waddled 
over to the table. "Play some music. 
Everybody wants to hear you sing.” 


"What kind of music?” 

"You said you could sing a good 
song.” 

Darfgarth pursed his lips; his 
fingers tentatively touched the 
mandolin’s strings: 

"He had four feet to walk, sir. 

He had four feet to stand; 

And every one of his four feet. 

It covered an acre of land. 

And he rambled, and he ram- 
bled, and he rambled . . . 

Till them butchers cut him 
down. 

This old ram had wool, sir, 

That grew up in the sky; 

I know the eagles nested there, 

’Cause I heard their young 
ones cry. 

And he rambled, and he ram- 
bled, and he rambled . . . 

Till them butchers cut him 
down. 

'^The butcher that cut this ram, 
sir, 

Was drownded in the blood; 

The little boy that held the 
bowl 

Was washed away in the flood. 

And he rambled, and he ram- 
bled, and he rambled . . . 

Till them butchers cut him 
down.” 

Darfgarth had held the villagers 



8 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


in a trance; now, their applause 
held him in a trance. He felt pow- 
erful; he felt God-like. During this 
moment of numbness, he clearly 
perceived a single image; the im- 
age of brown eyes, mantled in a 
cloud of auburn hair. 

*‘Lorr. Who is that girl?” 

‘Where?” 

“There. In the doorway.” 

“Oh. On . . . that’s Sally. Sally 
Lentz.” 

The girl’s eyes were as large and 
brown as a baby chipmunk’s. A 
gentle breeze entered the doorway, 
and her hair drifted like autumn 
leaves. 

Darfgarth’s fingers crept like 
flame across the strings of his man- 
dolin. The inn grew quiet then, 
and every ear strained to hear the 
pulsing melody which danced 
through the murky air like purple 
witching fire; every eye but four 
grew glazed and shut. 

Then, while the villagers 
drowsed in a wondrous sleep, Darf- 
garth and Sally Lentz gazed as 
each other. 

“Come to me, come to me, little 
turtle dove; 

Sing to me, sing to me, little 
turtle dove; 

Dance for me, dance for me, 
little turtle dove; 

Be my love, be my love, little 
turtle dove.” 

The man and the girl trembled, 
poised at the edge of an abyss. The 


girl sobbed softly and turned from 
him. Terrified by the magic of his 
music, she fled into the darkness, 
into the night. 

Darfgarth watched the doorway 
for awhile, then yawned and 
stretched his arms. He surveyed 
the strange scene of sleep which 
surrounded him. He felt powerful; 
he felt God-like. As he arose and 
strolled into his room, the black 
wood of the mandolin shone evilly 
in the candlelight. Behind him, 
the villagers slept. 

The following day, Darfgarth 
climbed the mountainside to visit 
Old Willow in her cabin. He found 
it, a gray shack, nestled in a hollow 
between t^vo stony ridges. 

The sky was white. The two 
ridges were black, but they were 
covered with white reeds and 
chalky boulders, which in turn 
were dotted with dark green pines. 
The hollow was black, and the 
weathered timber of the cabin was 
so old that it seemed almost white 
by contrast. The place reminded 
Darfgarth of drab, black-and-white 
Oriental paintings. 

Except for a thin shard of cloud, 
which drifted through the sky, 
nothing moved. Darfgarth himself 
stood still, somewhat awed: there 
was an odor of untouched loneli- 
ness here. 

Presently, he knocked on the 
cabin door. There was no response, 
so he sat on a nearby tree stump 
and made drawings in the dust. 



DARFGARTH 


9 


After a few minutes, a boy of about 
fifteen years came walking somber- 
ly out of the forest on the slopes 
above. He stood silently, watching 
Darf garth, who watched back. 

The boy s face was the color of 
the boy's world: coldly white, with 
black hair and black eyes. It was 
an empty face, neither sad nor 
happy. Here, Darfgarth realized, 
was an unsouled husk, waiting to 
be filled with good and evil and 
the wisdom” of man. Here was the 
proverbial clay, waiting for some- 
body's hands, his hands, to give it 
form. 

'‘Do you live here, boy?'' 

The boy nodded in silent assent. 

"You’re Old Willow’s boy?” 

Another nod. 

"I'm a stranger here, so I thought 
I'd pay you people a social visit. 
But nobody seemed to be home.” 

The boy stared in wonder at 
Darfgarth. 

"Come here, boy, and I’ll play 
you some music on my mandolin. 
What's your name?” 

After some consideration, the 
boy walked a few steps forward. 
He remained silent. Darfgarth 
strummed his instrument, smiled, 
and asked, "Don't you have a name, 
boy?” 

"She can’t hear.” The boy spoke 
each syllable distinctly, clearly, 

"What? Who?” 

"She can't hear.” 

"Oh! Your mother? Old Wil- 
low?” 

Once again, the boy nodded. 


"She can't hear? Is she in 

there?” 

Nod. 

"Well, boy, take me inside and 
I'll say hello to your mother.” 

"She can’t hear.” 

"She’s deaf?” 

"She can’t talk much.” 

"Well, maybe I can cheer her 
up with a smile.” Darfgarth stood 
up. As he did so, the boy leaped 
backwards and retreated to the 
edge of the forest. Darfgarth 
shrugged and, sat down again. He 
began to pluck the mandolin's 
strings: 

"Nameless boy, why ain't you 
got a name? 

Nameless boy, ain't you got no 
shame? 

Nameless boy, saddest sight to 
see . . . 

Nameless boy, why don't you 

talk with me?” 

The boy came closer again, and 
sat down on the dark earth. He 
neither smiled nor frowned, but 
Darfgarth thought there had been 
a momentary flicker in his eyes. 
Now, as the mandolin was si- 
lenced, his eyes were stones again. 

Throughout the afternoon, Darf- 
garth cajoled the boy, talked to 
him, sang to him, trying to rekin- 
dle that momentary flicker which 
he had seen. When dusk came, the 
boy proudly showed him a garden. 

"You grew all these vegetables 
yourself?” 



10 

The boy smiled and nodded 
mutely. 

‘Tou and your mother — you 
live on these?’' 

Smile and nod. 

‘Why don’t you take me into the 
cabin? I’ll say hello to your 
mother.” 

The boy hesitated. Then he led 
Darfgarth to the door, opened it, 
and motioned him into the dark- 
ness within. 

Old Willow was probably the 
boy’s grandmother rather than his 
mother: even as Darfgarth en- 
tered, a thin aroma of antiquity, 
like the stench of rotting spices, 
greeted him. When his eyes grew 
accustomed to the dark, he saw her. 

Her skin was marbled brown 
and white, lined with stiff black 
veins, and as soft as a fledgling’s 
belly. It. clung to her bones and 
sank between them. Coming closer, 
Darfgarth saw her face. It was as 
smooth and deathlike as soap; it 
centered around two yellow eyes — 
unseeing eyes which seemed clot- 
ted with phlegm. 

Darfgarth knew that Old Wil- 
low could neither hear nor see him, 
but that she nonetheless sensed his 
presence. He looked at his mando- 
lin, and the strings glittered as if 
by magic. His hand moved, and 
the movement was answered by the 
peal of a single lucid note. 

Ole Willow stirred. Her lips 
trembled like paper; she lifted her 
hands to her head and incredu- 
lously touched her ears. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

Darfgarth and the boy left the 
cabin. 

“She hear that?” 

“I think so,” said Darfgarth, 
smiling. “I think so.” He turned to 
go; evening had almost come. As 
he strolled down the path, he heard 
the bov behind him. 

“Wait . . .” 

Darfgarth turned. In the day’s 
last light, he saw that the boy's 
eyes were alive with the flames (no 
longer a mere flicker) of adoration. 
Darfgarth felt powerful; he felt 
God-like. 

“I’ll come back.” 

When Darfgarth reentered the 
village, night had come. He was 
greeted by Lorr Quinn, who had 
been resting on the porch of Ras- 
mussen’s inn. 

“Darfgartli! I want to talk with 
you! Where have you been?” 

“Hello, Lorr. I went up the 
mountain to visit Old Willow.” 

“You’re crazy. That wild boy 
might have killed you. He dropped 
a rock on John Pulsipher last sum- 
mer; some people say it wasn’t on 
purpose, but I have my doubts.” 

“I found him rather likable. 
Very simple. Like a baby.” 

“Like a wolf cub.” 

“Never mind.” Darfgarth smiled. 
“Why did you want to talk with 
me?” 

“Oh! Oh, yes. Something strange 
happened last night. We were sit- 
ting in the inn, as you remember. 
The last thing I can recall, you 



DARFGARTH 


11 


were playing your mandolin. The 
next morning, when I woke up, I 
was still in the inn, and so were all 
the rest of the fellows^ He paused 
for breath, ‘'Except you. You were 
gone.” 

“Why, when I went to bed, you 
were all drinking. When I got up 
this morning, I went out the back 
vvay — it never occurred to me that 
you might still be in the front 
room.” Darfgarth hesitated, striv- 
ing to achieve dramatic effect. “A/I 
of you? All of you woke up?” 

“That's right.” 

“Well. I expected that some of 
you old beer-bellies might get 
soused — but never did I dream 
that all of you . . .” 

“Hold on, Darfgarth! You 
sound just like the women! They've 
teased and scolded and screamed 
at us, all day long. But I tell you, 
I know we couldn't all have been 
drunk. I wasn't . . .” 

“Oh, no! I'm sure you weren't, 
Lorr. . 

“Hello, there.” A gentle voice 
touched them in the darkness. 
Darfgarth turned on one foot and 
caught a glimpse of a momentary 
image: the image of brown eyes, 
mantled in a cloud of auburn hair. 

“Who was that?” he asked, al- 
ready knowing the answer. 

“Sally Lentz.” 

“Isn't that the same girl I asked 
about last night?” 

“Oh ... I don't remember.” 

Darfgarth paused, certain that 
l-orr did remember. 


“I would like to meet her. Where 
is she going. Do you know?” 

“No. I really couldn't say . . 

Once again, Darfgarth felt that 
Lorr had lied. 

“Well, then, perhaps I'd better 
wait until tomorrow. I think I shall 
go to bed, anyway.” 

“Well . . . goodnight, then.” 

“Goodnight, Lorr . . . and re- 
member . , ,” 

“Yes?” 

“Don't get drunk again.” 

Darfgarth went to Rasmussen's 
inn. The old Norwegian stopped 
him in the hall and asked him how 
he expected to pay for another 
night's lodging. 

“With my good looks,” said 
Darfgarth, pinching Rasmussen's 
nose. The little man waddled in- 
dignantly away, but he did not 
botlier his guest again. Darfgarth 
entered his room, removed his 
shirt, lay down on the bed, rested 
the mandolin on his chest, and 
looked through the window at the 
moon. The moonlight glowed on 
the mandolin's wood with the 
same glow that sunlight sometimes 
makes on the back of a shark 
swimming in ten fathoms of clear 
water — a dark glow, opalescent 
and bottomless; but the moonlight 
glowed also on the mandolin’s 
strings — a different kind of glow, 
warm and comforting, like holy 
candlelight. 

When all the village was asleep, 
Darfgarth arose, put on his shirt, 
and jumped through the window. 



12 

He did not know where he would 
find Sally Lentz, but, strange man 
that he was, he knew that he 
would find her. He wandered 
along the curves of the cobble- 
stone street, staying in the shad- 
ows. Presently, a few hundred feet 
from the village proper, he came 
to a house which appealed to his 
mystic fancy. After circling it 
twice, he shrugged his shoulders 
and left it behind. A few minutes 
later, be found another house to 
his liking, located in a copse of 
trees at a little distance from the 
road. Having studied it carefully, 
he chose to remain. 

It was, indeed, Sally Lentz’s 
home. 

Darfgarth discovered, by intui- 
tion, the proper window. Sitting 
beneath it, he began to play and 
sing, softly, exquisitely softly — no 
louder than the breeze in the 
grass: 

Xome to me, come to me little 
turtle dove . . 

When Sally did come to Darf- 
garth, it was the magic of the 
music which held her, not any 
magic of his own; but he was 
nonetheless satisfied. Presently, 
they strolled through the verdant 
fields. 

"Darfgarth?" 

"Yes, SaUy?" 

"Will you stay in the village?” 

"Perhaps . . 

Darfgarth was happy. On the 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

mountain, he had made a con- 
quest, and in the village, he had 
made a conquest. The boy adored 
him, the girl loved him. In both 
victories, the mandolin had been 
his instrument of warfare, but this 
mattered little to Darfgarth. He 
felt powerful; he felt God-like. 

'Tes. I will stay in the village." 

High up on the mountain, there 
was a towering cliff of gray gran- 
ite. At the edge of its summit, 
there grew a pine tree, an ancient 
pine tree. Its bole was mottled rus- 
set and white, scarred deeply, and 
scaled like a reptilian body; 
branchless, it rose into the sky, 
until, one hundred and fifty feet 
above the rocks, a flower of green 
foliage burst from its top. Here, 
high above the world, the eagles 
nested. 

Among the granite boulders, 
the roots of this great tree coiled 
like black snakes which, by magic, 
had been petrified as they twisted 
away from the trunk. Arising be- 
tween two of these roots, a spar- 
kling rivulet of mountain water 
crawled around the boulders, hesi- 
tated at the precipice, and then 
fell three hundred feet to a lake at 
the base of the cliff. This lake 
was small, deep, and greenish with 
rotting plants; an unpleasant odor 
arose from its waters. 

One day, Darfgarth and the 
boy ascended the mountainside, 
to sit upon the cliff’s edge, at the 
foot of the tree, where the rivulet 



DARFGARTH 


13 


arose. As they climbed through the 
forest, they encountered all the 
variously colored autumnal foli- 
age: the golden aspen leaf; the 
burnt-sienna elm leaf; the yellow 
willow leaf, fringed with green; 
and the red-speckled mountain 
ash leaf. The boy had seen these 
leaves many times before, but 
Darfgarth made him pause and 
look more deeply into their richly- 
toned colors. 

‘*God is beauty,'* said Darfgarth, 
and he thought of himself. Then 
his hand danced upon the silver 
strings of the mai\dolin. Every 
leaf transformed. Great clouds of 
diaphanous gold and brown and 
yellow and red, great clouds of 
silvery spider web, great clouds 
floated about their heads. The sun 
was a circle of brightness behind 
these filmy clouds, and the trees 
were spires of brownish jewels. 
Then Darfgarth tapped the black 
sounding box of the mandolin, 
fallen leaves once more. 

As they paused to rest on a 
higher ridge, Darfgarth said, *'God 
is truth,” and he thought of him- 
self. And as they rested, gazing 
down upon the village below, 
Darfgarth taught the boy how to 
live among people, taught the boy 
a simple ethic, and taught the boy 
the importance of truth. 

As they reached the cliff s edge, 
Darfgarth said, “God is justice,” 
and he thought of himself. He 
needed to speak no further, for the 
boy understood. 


In the afternoon sunlight, they 
sat on the warm boulders, lost in 
dreams. The boy was no longer an 
unsouled husk — for many days 
now, he had been growing. He 
gazed, full of wonder and warmth, 
at the eagles nest far above his 
head. He thought about wonderful 
things — beauty and truth and jus- 
tice. Darfgarth, although he had 
spoken wisely, only looked at the 
lake below, where the stench of 
death arose from the green waters. 
He thought about himself. He felt 
pow^erful; he felt God-hke. 

That evening, Darfgarth stole 
through the darkness to woo Sally, 
just as he had every evening. Her 
beauty held as strong a power over 
him as his guitar held over her. 
He lived in a trance, dreaming of 
the mystic tryst which the coming 
evening was sure to offer; and his 
dreams were always fulfilled when 
evening finally came. 

But this night was different. 
Darfgarth crouched beneath Sal- 
ly's window, sensing that some- 
thing was wrong. He was both 
afraid and angry; he hesitated to 
touch the mandolin's strings, to 
call her with his music. 

Then he knew. She was not 
alone. 

Darfgarth leaped through the 
window, his spirit foaming vdth 
black poisons. 

In the twilight shadows of a 
single candle, Lorr Quinn and 
Sally Lentz embraced. They heard 



14 

Darfgarth, broke apart, and stood 
motionless, watching him. At first 
they were shocked, and then they 
were afraid, and then, as they saw 
the dark fire in his eyes, they were 
entranced and captivated. 

Darf garth knew a song: 

*"Easy Lorr, see what you have 
done . . . 

Easy Lorr, thought you'd have 
some fun . . . 

Easy Lorr, took the only one 

Easy Lorr, took my love away 

Easy Lorr, loved her night and 
day . , , 

Easy Lorr, now you better 
pray . ♦ • 

Foolish Lorr, see what I have 
done . . 

Squirming on the floor, locked 
in a foul embrace, were two 
snakes. Darfgarth laughed at them, 
laughed madly, and then jumped 
from the window, ran through the 
grass, and struggled insanely up 
the mountainslope. 

That same evening, the boy had 
a dream. He dreamed he was 
standing on the cliff. The sky was 
purple with the turbulence of a 
terrible storm, and about his head 
flew the eagles, screaming in an- 
swer to the roaring thunder. By 
his side, it seemed, there cowered 
a man. The cliff was suddenly en- 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

gulfed in a great light. The boy 
pointed at the cowering man, and 
there was another great light, and 
the man fell dead, and mighty 
words pounded through the boy's 
ears: '‘God is justice." 

When he awoke, the boy ran 
down the mountainslope and into 
the village. He did not know why, 
but he felt compelled to do so. 
Rolf Rasmussen stopped him at 
the inn. 

“Boy, boy!" cried the little fat 
man. “Have you seen Darfgarth? 
Have you seen Sally Lentz and 
Lorr Quinn?" 

‘Testerday, I saw Darfgarth." 

“Yesterday, I saw all three. But 
today they’re gone." 

“I don’t know the others." 

“You’re no help. But if you sec 
Darfgarth, come and tell me." 

All day, the boy wandered in 
the forests of the mountain. In the 
late afternoon, he reached the 
cliff’s edge, where he found Darf- 
garth. 

“What has happened?" asked 
the boy. 

“I killed two people. I changed 
them into snakes." Darfgarth 
stretched his arms and shrugged. 
“I’ll have to leave." 

The boy felt weak and small. 
All of his new strength seemed to 
have drained away. 

“Why did you do it?" 

“It was just," said Darfgarth. 
“God is justice." 

“But you’re not God," cried the 
boy. 



DARFGARTH 


15 


^Xook at this,'' said Darfgarth, 
shaking his mandolin. Suddenly 
trembling, he began to play: 

''And he rambled, and he ram- 
bled, and he rambled . . 

A new strength filled the boy. 
Without faltering, he moved to- 
ward Darfgarth; he knew what he 
had to do. He felt powerful; he 
felt God-like. 

" Till them butchers cut him 
down." 

Still later in the afternoon, the 
boy awoke Rasmussen from a 
drowsy nap and dragged him up 
the mountainside. They reached 
the cliflF in the last moments of 
dusk. While the boy stood silently, 
Rasmussen surveyed the wordless 
story which the mountain told. 


In the lake below, the stringless 
mandolin floated like a mangled 
water snake. In the tree above, 
seven shining strings were woven 
inextricably in the eagle’s nest. On 
the granite edge of the cliff, Darf- 
garth’s body was thrown across a 
boulder. His face was as cold and 
pale as rain; about his neck, 
twisted tightly in a death-knot, 
was the eighth mandolin string, 
glittering silver in the dying sun. 

Horrified, Rasmussen stared at 
the boy. 

"Why did you do it?" 

"It was just," said the boy. "God 
is justice." 

"But you're not God," said Ras- 
mussen, while anger filled his face. 
Taking a firm hold, he began to 
lead the boy down the mountain 
toward the village. The little fat 
man knew what he had to do. He 
felt powerful; he felt God-like. 


SPECIAL THEODORE STURGEON ISSUE . . . 

This year, Theodore Sturgeon will be Guest of Honor at the World Science 
Fiction Convention in Chicago. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, 
which — together with its now discontinued sister-publication. Venture — has 
published 12 stories by this most distinguished Guest, is very proud to announce 
that it will mark the occasion by a Special Sturgeon Issue — our September 
number — timed to coincide with the Convention, which will be held on Labor 
Day Weekend. The issue will contain a new story by the master himself, an 
article on his writings by James Blish, an article about him as a person and as 
a personality by Judith Merril, and a bibliography by Sam Moskowitz. For 
twenty-five years Theodore Sturgeon has honored the fields of science fiction 
and fantasy with his genius, and now The Magazine of Fantasy and Science 
Fiction is honored to honor him. Reserve your copy of the Special Sturgeon 
Issue (September, on sale in August) now— or, better yet, subscribe. It is certain 
to become a collectors’ item. It will make fine, rich reading, too. 



There is a tradition to the effect that nothing gives editors 
greater pleasure than discovering new talent. As a matter 
of fact, nothing gives editors greater pleasure than a free 
meal, with drinks, over which they can pontificate. Next to 
this, however, comes discovering new talent. Sasha Giliens 
first story arrived like a breath of fresh green air and tickled 
the daylights out of us. (We have been all dark, inside, ever 
since, but what the dickens. Eh?) Our first inquiry about 
him drew the surmise that he was a pseudonym for some- 
one else— identity unknown. But while we were still conjec- 
turing, fresh data arrived. "Brooklyn-born (in the year ’25), 
[says our Mr. Pettifogle], ex-Marine, UCLA (Theater Arts), 
ex-schoolteacher (Eng. and Lit.), co-founder— co-publisher— 
Exec. Editor— L. A. Magazine (since taken over by Harpers), 
gourmet and dining-out authority, Mr. Gilien now devotes 
himself to writing full-time.” We hope that a lot of that time 
will henceforth be devoted to writing for FirSF, because 
for ingenuity and sparkle and all around good writing— as 
witness this zany-genius tale of reincarnation and dual per- 
sonality— Mr. G. is hard to beat. 


TWO S A CROWD 

by Sasha Gilien 


I STAYED WITH CHARLES KlEIN- 
gold for twenty minutes after he 
lay dead on his living-room sofa. 
It wasn’t that I got sentimental 
about him; it was just so comforta- 
ble in the quiet room that I hated 
to go back and start the same thing 
over again with someone else, at 


least right away. As soon as his 
brain fluttered to a halt from lack 
of oxygen, I knew the little red 
light over his name started to 
bhnk on the big board, and they’d 
be buzzing me to come in and get 
my new assignment. 

“Let them buzz,” I thought as I 


16 



two’s a crowd 


17 


looked at him lying there with his 
mouth open. ‘‘After thirty-five 
years with Charlie, a few more 
minutes won't matter. Poor old 
Charlie; we really had some laughs." 

Eventually, of course, I went 
back. Nothing had changed. The 
big board was still blinking away 
while the boys scurried up and 
down taking off the old name- 
plates and putting on new ones. 
The old plates are turned over to 
Records where they are filed al- 
phabetically, and as word comes in 
of new germinations, assignments 
are made, and a new i.d. plate is 
put on the board over one of the 
little lights. Things seemed a bit 
more hectic, though, since the last 
time I was there thirty-five years 
ago, a result, I suppose, of the so- 
called population explosion. And 
of course our department never 
gets the appropriations it needs to 
keep it properly staffed, so that 
it creaks along, doing the best it 
can, but becoming more inefficient 
each year. 

The loudspeaker crackled, and I 
heard the clerk calling my code des- 
ignation, “E-Ag477, E-Ag477, 

Assignments." No time off between 
jobs anymore, especially for E 
classifications. Out of the corpse 
and into the egg before you had a 
chance to recoup your energies 
from the last hitch. 

“Come in, son," said the Direc- 
tor as I opened the door to his of- 
fice. “You did a nice job with that 
Korngold fellow." 


“Kleingold.” 

“Whatever his name was. I don't 
know why they terminated him 
when they did, but I don't ask 
questions; I just hand out assign- 
ments. They took away my assistant 
a few years ago. It’s all I can do 
to keep up.” He looked weary, sud- 
denly, and I was glad I didn't have 
his office job and his worries. 

“Here you are,” he said, reach- 
ing into a drawer and handing me 
the blue envelope. “Eighty-nine 
years on this one. Have fun." 

Outside the office I opened the 
envelope and took out the punched 
card. The name was Arthur May- 
hew, 1766 North Glenville Drive, 
Bel-Air, California. At least I was 
going to be well off, with that ad- 
dress, and now all I needed was a 
nice quiet pregnancy so I could get 
some rest. We always get there the 
moment the ovum is fertilized, and 
of course there's not too much ac- 
tivity while it’s developing. The 
real work starts at birth. 

The conception went off smooth- 
ly, despite the efforts of Mr. and 
Mrs. Mayhew to block it, and I 
settled down for nine months of 
quiet which I certainly needed 
after Charlie Kleingold's busy life. 

“I think a mistake's been made," 
I heard someone say in a blurry 
voice. 

I turned around to see a pale, 
soft-looking chap with a startled 
expression on his long face. 

“It looks like it, all right. What 
are you doing here?" 



18 

'This is my assignment.” He 
showed me his card. Sure enough, 
it was for Arthur Mayhew at the 
same address, but the code read I- 
Wi843. Some clerk, or maybe 
even the Director, had snarled 
things up so that two of us were 
given identical assignments. The 
ridiculous thing about it was our 
codes. His classification indicated 
Introvert-Withdrawn, and my E- 
Ag number puts me in the Extro- 
vert-Aggressive category. Unfortu- 
nately, there would be no way of 
getting back to the office until Ar- 
thur Mayhew’s little red light 
blinked on the board. 

"Friend,” I said, "the office rare- 
ly goofs. However, they really man- 
aged it this time.” 

"What's to be done?” 

"Not much. I’m afraid — why 
don’t you just keep out of the way 
and let me handle things?” 

"But I’ve got my job to do,” he 
said in an apologetic voice that 
grated on me. 

"We’ll see.” 

There’s no point in arguing with 
somebody like that. I could see he 
was one of the types who are like 
rock when they get stubborn. 
Damn it, if they had to send some- 
one else, why couldn’t they send 
someone with the same classifica- 
tion as mine? With two of us in 
him, Arthur Mayhew could push 
his way to the top of the world. 

At first it wasn’t much of a prob- 
lem. In fact, for a while we were 
imited in a common hope that we’d 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

soon be released. About a month 
after conception, when Mrs. May- 
hew found that she was pregnant, 
there was talk of "taking care of it,” 
which would mean we could forget 
about the whole thing. But Mr. 
Mayhew put his foot down on that 
project, and Mrs. Mayhew re- 
signed herself to an offspring, as 
much as she hated the idea. After 
that, we avoided each other as 
much as we could until the deliv- 
ery. I took over then; Arthur came 
out screaming and kicking, and 
for the first three months things 
went my way. The Mayhews were 
convinced they had a rugged little 
customer on their hands; someone 
who demanded attention every 
minute of the day. If yammering 
didn’t get it, he’d toss his stuffed 
animals across the room, or, using 
the ultimate weapon, he’d deliber- 
ately mess up his diapers. He was 
in particularly good form when 
visitors came to view him; giggling 
and crowing for them, and clap- 
ping his little hands, but going into 
a black rage when they left. 

All this time I-Wi843 sat 
around in his mealymouthed way 
and sulked. I ignored him while I 
went about my business with Ar- 
thur, who was developing into a 
beautiful Extrovert-Aggressive. But 
one night he came to me and 
pleaded for a chance to do some 
work, and like the good-hearted 
fool I am, I agreed to allow him 
twenty-four hours at the controls. 
The change in Arthur was imme- 



19 


two’s a crowd 

diate. He lay there for hours star- 
ing at the ceiling, and when Annie, 
the nursemaid, came into his room 
to feed him, he shrank down in the 
comer of his crib, terrified. Even 
his toys seemed to frighten him. 
He didn't cry or anything; just lay 
there in a cringe, wishing that ev- 
erybody would leave him alone. 

When the twenty-four hours 
were up, the sneaky bastard abso- 
lutely refused to let go. “What are 
you going to do about it?" he 
smirked. 

I suddenly realized that there 
wasn't much I could do, once he 
had the switch. And he knew it, 
too, because he said with a 
smile, “For an Extrovert-Aggres- 
sive, you're pretty naive." 

“My goodness,” said Annie, who 
had raised Mrs. Mayhew when she 
was a child, “I’ve never seen a ba- 
by change like that. He doesn't run 
a fever, but I don't think he’s well.” 

“He has changed, hasn't he? It's 
sort of nice, though, to have him 
quiet for a change. I might as well 
take him to Dr. McCleod tomor- 
row; he's due for a check-up any- 
way." 

Dr. McCleod, who had delivered 
Arthur, found him in good health, 
although he, too, was surprised at 
the baby's quiet melancholy. He 
prescribed a food supplement and 
told Mrs. Mayhew not to worry, 
which she wasn't going to do any- 
how. 

Mealymouth had complete pos- 


session of the controls, and Arthur 
Mayhew became a shy v^ithdrawn 
child who never made any friends, 
happy only when he could be by 
himself. He rarely spoke. His par- 
ents were able to reach him less 
and less as he drew into his own 
httle world, and his teachers wor- 
ried about his social development, 
which seemed to be nil. Of course, 
I was furious about the whole 
thing and spent all my time looking 
for my chance to step in and take 
over; I wanted to put some life into 
the boy. 

It finally came when he was 
twelve. Mealymouth must have for- 
gotten that I was around; one night 
he relaxed a httle too much. I 
wrenched the controls away and 
hung on. 

“All right, friend, you've had it. 
He's all mine," I said, elbowing 
him out of the way. He looked at 
me reprovingly, and just stood 
there, but I knew he'd always be 
around, waiting. 

I started right ofiF the next morn- 
ing by having Arthur come to 
breakfast, slam down his spoon, 
and bellow, “Boy, am I sick of this 
lousy oatmeal!" 

“What did you say?" asked Mr. 
Mayhew incredulously. This was 
the first time he’d gotten more than 
a mumbled ‘morning’ in five years, 

“I said I’m sick of this lousy oat- 
meal. What’s in the paper, pop?” 

“Are you all right, Arthur?" 

“Sure I'm all right. I just asked 
what's in the paper." 



20 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


‘'Arthur, there's something — 

"O.K. skip it. I’m late to school, 
anyway.” With that, Arthur picked 
up his books and went out, leaving 
Mr. Mayhew gawking over his Los 
Angeles Times, 

During the day, when Mrs. Kra- 
mer stepped out for a moment, Ar- 
thur created a sensation in his 
class by standing on his desk and 
doing a creditable imitation of the 
teacher, followed by a rapid fire 
tap routine involving hair-raising 
slides to the edge. His classmates 
howled, but I think they were a 
little frightened by the intensity of 
Arthur’s performance. I couldn’t 
help it, though; after all this time 
of inactivity, I was bursting with 
energy and new ideas, so Arthur 
careened on his merry way, com- 
pletely undisturbed by outside re- 
action. When Mrs. Kramer hurried 
in to quell the racket, she was 
amazed to find that, of all children, 
it was the Mayhew boy who was 
responsible. Since she was exceed- 
ingly progressive in her educa- 
tional ideas, Mrs. Kramer was de- 
lighted to see the child finally 
coming out of his shyness and 
taking part in the social life of his 
peer group. It wasn^t for several 
days that she began to feel that 
perhaps the boy was overdoing it a 
bit. I had him disrupt classes, or- 
ganize a small gang of boys called 
“Artie’s Avengers” which terrorized 
teachers and students alike, and be- 
come known as the freshest kid ev- 
er to have gone to Oakglen School. 


At home he became unmanageable, 
doing precisely as he pleased, de- 
spite his parents’ modest attempts 
at discipline. He was loud, brash, 
and insulting, finally causing the 
faithful Annie to leave the May- 
hews and seek employment else- 
where. 

“Will you kindly tell me what’s 
happened to our son, Clyde?” said 
Mrs. Mayhew one evening after a 
particularly violent episode where 
Arthur had unqualifiedly bested 
Mr. Mayhew in a battle of wills. 
This had led to the necessity of 
the latter physically picking up his 
boy and locking him in his room. 
From upstairs there now issued 
spasmodic blasts on the alto saxo- 
phone Arthur had taken (without 
permission) from school. 

“I honestly don’t know, honey, 
but I’m getting a little sick of that 
kid. I can’t understand it; he was 
such a timid boy. Remember how 
we used to worry that he would 
never assert himself? Maybe it’s 
that damn progressive school he 
goes to.” 

The Mayhews held out for an- 
other year before they shipped him 
off to Cleves Military Academy, 
which specialized in rich boys who 
needed iron-handed guidance. Col- 
onel Cleves had yet to meet the lad 
he couldn’t quash, charging liber- 
ally for his talent. However, Cadet 
Arthur Mayhew proved to be a 
formidable opponent, and if the 
Colonel hadn’t been so jealous of 
his reputation, he’d have sent him 



TWO S A CROWD 


21 


packing at the end of the first quar- 
ter. For one thing, Arthur had a 
good 30 I.Q. point advantage over 
the Colonel, and since I do some 
of my best work during the teens, 
Arthur was usually triumphant. 
‘Artie’s Avengers” came back to 
life, their leader more fearless and 
arrogant than ever. He organized 
a raucous little dance band for 
which he played the sax and sang, 
and he managed to become the vor- 
tex of every rebellious activity, rap- 
idly besmirching the fair name of 
Cleves, whose motto was, “Obe- 
dience Is The Highest Good.” 

Everything was working out so 
nicely that I completely forgot 
about old Mealymouth who lurked 
about in the background. That’s 
where I made my mistake. He 
inched up one night and simply 
took over, just like that. Once he 
had the switch, there was nothing 
I could do, and poor Artie’s per- 
sonality went into low gear almost 
at once. 

He woke up crying. 

“Hey, Artie, what the hell hap- 
pened?” Donald Gross, his room- 
mate was looking at him, embar- 
rassed. 

“I — I don’t like it here. I want 
to go home.” 

Donald stared at him blankly. 

“Just leave me alone, will you?” 
He turned his face to the wall and 
pulled the blanket over his head. 

He was still there after breakfast 
when Colonel Cleves stormed in. 
“On your feet, Mayhew,” he roared 


“What is this, open mutiny?” 

He strode over to the bed and 
tore back the blankets, revealing 
Arthur pressing himself against the 
wall, trying to shut out all the 
noise. There was nothing the Colo- 
nel liked more than seeing a fright- 
ened boy. 

“Stop snivelling, Mayhew, and 
get up.” He turned to Captain 
Prosser, his aide. “Captain, see that 
this cadet is at Morning Forma- 
tion, and be sure he reports to my 
oflBce at 1600 hours. That’s all.” 

When the Colonel was gone, 
old Captain Prosser, who was 
somewhat dazed by Arthur’s be- 
havior, helped him dress and si- 
lently accompanied out to the 
Grinder where the members of his 
company stood wondering what 
kind of gag Arthur was puUing 
now. He quietly took his place in 
the ranks and dreamily went 
through the military folderol the 
Colonel loved so much. At the first 
break he drifted off behind the 
bleachers and thought about run- 
ning away. His gang soon followed 
him, horsing around, waiting for 
him to say something. 

“What do you want?” he said, 
his face white. 

“I don’t think he’s fooling. He’s 
sick or something,” Donald Gross 
said. 

There was ^ an uncomfortable 
shuffling among the boys, and then 
Arthur’s faithful lieutenant. Buddy 
Baust said, “Come on, Artie, what’s 
the gimmick?” 



FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


22 

*Tlease leave me alone,” he was 
almost sobbing. 

The whistle blew, and everyone 
ran back to formation. The rest of 
the day Arthur tried to avoid the 
other boys, going so far as to hide 
in his closet during lunch and 
through all his afternoon classes. 
He was flushed out by Captain 
Prosser, who marched him to the 
Colonel’s office at 4 o’clock. The 
Colonel was so pleased to see 
Arthur cowed that he was surpris- 
ingly gentle with him, merely re- 
minding him that at Cleves a boy 
toed the line or would live to re- 
gret it forever. 

Arthur’s old buddies rapidly 
dropped away. He spoke to no one, 
including Donald Gross, rarely 
smiled, except to himself, and 
spent every free moment lying on 
his bed, staring at the wall. The 
Colonel sent home a glowing re- 
port on Arthur’s behavior, assuring 
the Mayhews that tlieir son was 
adjusting nicely, and that they 
would be hugely pleased at his new 
attitude. As a matter of fact, when 
his parents visited him on Parade 
Day, he had nothing to say to 
them. He had gradually adopted a 
hunched-over posture, with his 
eyes fixed on the ground, and a 
voice so low it was barely audible. 
The Mayhews were stunned by the 
change, but there was something 
so pathetic about him that they 
were saddened, rather than 
pleased. 

During the drive home Mrs. 


Mayhew said, ''Clyde, I think that 
idiotic Colonel Cleves has broken 
Arthur’s spirit. Do you think we 
should take him out of there?” 

"It’s just another year, dear. Let’s 
let him finish at the Academy. 
Maybe it’s a phase.” 

It bothered the hell out of me 
to see what had become of Artie 
since Mealymouth had taken 
over; the kid seemed miserable. On 
Graduation Day, when all the sen- 
iors were putting their arms over 
each other’s shoulders and shaking 
hands in sentimental goodbyes, 
Arthur snatched his diploma and 
rushed off to his parents’ car, flop- 
ping down in the back seat, wait- 
ing for them to drive home. That 
did it! I lost my head altogether 
and grabbed Mealymouth’s arm, 
twisting it until he dropped the 
switch. We both grappled for it, 
and I found that he was stronger 
than he looked. All this time, of 
course, Arthur was having a fit in 
the back seat, moaning and groan- 
ing until Mr. Mayhew pulled over 
and stopped the car. By the time 
he and his wife had gotten the 
boy out in the fresh air, I had 
complete possession of the switch. 
Mealymouth lay on his back, 
panting. 

"Arthur, what’s wrong?” 

Artie grinned. "I’m fine, soaks — 
I mean folks. Just glad to be shet 
of ol’ Gunnel Cleves, the biggest 
son-of-a-bitch to evah disgrace the 
glooorious unifohm of Yew Ess 
Ahmy. Kin Ah drive. Pappy?” 



two's a crowd 


23 


'^My God/' said Mrs. Mayhew, 
‘'you don't know how you fright- 
ened us just now. It looked like a 
seizure." 

“C’mon, Pappy, honey, let li'l 
ol’ Artie drive.” 

“Will you stop that silly South- 
ern accent, Arthur?" said his fath- 
er. "No, you can’t drive. Now get 

. i> 

in. 

Arthur ran around the front of 
the car, jumped into the drivers 
seat, and started the motor. “All 
aboard that’s going aboard," he 
shouted, moving the car a few feet. 
“Artie’s driving. Wanna ride?" 

Mr. Mayhew gave his wife a 
look of dismay, and they got in. 
Artie leaned over the wheel as if he 
were making a getaway and had 
the Buick up to ninety-five miles an 
hour by the time they were back on 
the highway. He punched the horn 
excitedly and laughed, "I'm a car 
drivin' fool just outta school," and 
sped down the highway like a 
madman. He drove like that for 
about fifteen minutes when a 
highway patrol car edged him 
over to the side. 

It was great to be working again, 
but I felt uneasy with Mealymouth 
over there glaring balefully at me. 

'Tou know, you're ruining the 
boy." 

“The hell I am. You're the one 
that ruined him. If you hadn't 
shown up, Artie would be doing 


just fine, like he is now." He had 
gall, telling me 1 was wrecking the 
kid. 

“Well, I don't care what you 
say; we can’t go on fighting each 
other this way. Neither of us can 
relax for a minute." 

"So?" 

“I had an idea." 

"So?" 

“Instead of fighting, why don’t 
we take turns or something. Like 
on a regular basis." 

I thought it over for a minute. 
It wasn’t a bad idea, except I 
couldn’t trust that guy. 

He knew what I was thinking. 
“I swear you can trust me this 
time. I’ll trust you. We could 
change off every week." 

“Make it every day, and it's a 
deal." 

We shook on it, and for the first 
time we had a friendly talk. It 
turned out that Mealymouth was- 
n't a bad guy after all, just con- 
scientious. It wasn’t his fault they'd 
made a mistake back at the office. 
Or maybe it was me they'd made 
the mistake about. Anyway, it's 
been a few years now that we've 
been taking daily shifts, and we get 
along beautifully, switching over 
every twenty-four hours like clock- 
work. Of course it's a little rough on 
Arthur. They’ll never let him out 
of this place until his little red light 
blinks on, and that won't be for an- 
other sixty-eight years. 



Until 1948 pictures of authors on book jacket tended to fall severely into 
two groups. If male, the author was shown in profile, with pipe, gazing 
towards a horizon or something. If female, she was standing in a garden, with 
a floppy hat and two dogs. That was the year of OTHER VOICES, OTHER 
ROOMS, whose jacket picture showed the author looking like a mildly 
startled faun^if fauns are ever photographed lying on a divan in shirt sleeves 
and wearing a fancy waistcoat. So did Truman Capote stir up the literary 
scene; he has been stirring it up ever since: winner of an O* Henry prize at 
nineteen, author of the fine short story collection, THE TREE OF NIGHT, 
the beautiful book of travel sketches, LOCAL COLOR, THE GRASS HARP 
^novel and play—the musical, HOUSE OF FLOWERS, his film, BEAT THE 
DEVIL, his canny glance at Russia and Americans-irh-Russia, THE MUSES 
ARE HEARD, and his memorable riposte to Norman Mailer— who, in a TV 
round-table discussion, was vigorously espousing the Dont-get-it-right-get- 
it-written-theory—'But, my good man,** protested Mr. T., in a deadly drawl, 
**that*s not writing— that* s type-writing!** If he picked up any of his qualities 
as observer and inditer while **earning his living diversely by writing speeches 
for a third-rate politician, dancing on a river boat, painting on glass, and 
working as an office boy for the NEW YORKER magazine,** or if he was bom 
with all of them and all of them brightly burnished, we do not know. It 
might have been with Master Misery-the story of lonely Sylvia, mysterious 
Mr. Revercomb, and wildly unhappy Oreilly the ex-clown— in mind that 
Truman Capote said, ** There is .. . somewhere a spiritual territory, un- 
charted and not too soft, shifting imaginative; it is the country below the 
surface, and as an anarchist 1 feel less blind there.** 


MASTER MISERY by Truman Capote 


Her high heels, clacking 
across the marble foyer, made her 
think of ice cubes rattling in a 
glass, and the flowers, those au- 
tumn chrysanthemums in the urn 
at the entrance, if touched they 
would shatter, splinter, she was 
sure, into frozen dust; yet the 
house was warm, even somewhat 
overheated, but cold, and Sylvia 
shivered, but cold, like the snowy 
swollen wastes of the secretary's 
face: Miss Mozart, who dressed 
all in white, as though she were a 


nurse. Perhaps she really was; 
that, of course, could be the an- 
swer. Mr. Revercomb, you are 
mad, and this is your nurse; she 
thought about it for a moment: 
well, no. And now the butler 
brought her scarf. His beauty 
touched her: slender, so gentle, a 
Negro with freckled skin and red- 
dish, unreflecting eyes. As he 
opened the door. Miss Mozart ap- 
peared, her starched uniform rus- 
tling dryly in the hall. “We hope 
you will return," she said, and 


© 1949 by Truman Capote. 
24 



MASTER MISERY 


25 


handed Sylvia a sealed envelope, 
‘*Mrs. Revercomb was most par- 
ticularly pleased.” 

Outside, dusk was falling like 
blue flakes, and Sylvia walked 
crosstown along the November 
streets until she reached the lonely 
upper reaches of Fifth Avenue. It 
occurred to her then that she might 
walk home through the park: an 
act of defiance almost, for Henry 
and Estelle, always insistent upon 
their city wisdom, had said over 
and again, Sylvia, you have no 
idea how dangerous it is, walking 
in the park after dark; look what 
happened to Myrtle Calisher. This 
isn’t Easton, honey. That was the 
other thing they said. And said. 
God, she was sick of it. Still, and 
aside from a few of the other typ- 
ists at SnugFare, an underwear 
company for which she worked, 
who else in New York did she 
know? Oh, it would be all right if 
only she did not have to live with 
them, if she could afford some- 
where a small room of her own; 
but there in that chintz-cramped 
apartment she sometimes felt she 
would choke them both. And why 
did she come to New York? For 
whatever reason, and it was in- 
deed becoming vague, a principal 
cause of leaving Easton had been 
to rid herself of Henry and Estelle; 
or rather, their counterparts, 
though in point of fact Estelle was 
actually from Easton, a town north 
of Cincinnati. She and Sylvia had 
grown up together. The real trou- 


ble with Henry and Estelle was 
that they were so excruciatingly 
married. Nambypamby, bootsy- 
totsy, and everything had a name: 
the telephone was Tinkling Tillie, 
the sofa. Our Nelle, the bed. Big 
Bear; yes, and what about those 
His-Her towels, those He-She pil- 
lows? Enough to drive ybu loony. 
‘‘Loony!” she said aloud, the quiet 
park erasing her voice. It was love- 
ly now, and she was right to have 
walked here, with wind moving 
through the leaves, and globe 
lamps, freshly aglow, kindling the 
chalk drawings of children, pink 
birds, blue arrows, green hearts 
But suddenly, like a pair of ob- 
scene words, there appeared on 
the path two boys: pimple-faced, 
grinning, they loomed in the 
dusk like menacing flames, and 
Sylvia, passing them, felt a burning 
all through her, quite as though 
she'd brushed fire. They turned 
and followed her past a deserted 
playground, one of them bump- 
bumping a stick along an iron 
fence, the other whistling: these 
sounds accumulated around her 
hke the gathering roar of an on- 
coming engine, and when one of 
the boys, with a laugh, called, 
“Hey, whatsa hurry?” her mouth 
twisted for breath. Don't, she 
thought, thinking to throw down 
her purse and run. At that mo- 
ment, a man walking a dog came 
up a sidepath, and she followed 
at his heels to the exit. Wouldn't 
they feel gratified, Henry and Es- 



26 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


telle, wouldn’t they we-told-you-so 
if she were to tell them? and, 
what is more, Estelle would write 
it home and the next thing you 
knew it would be all over Easton 
that she’d been raped in Central 
Park. She spent the rest of the way 
home despising New York: ano- 
nymity, its virtuous terror; and the 
squeaking drainpipe, all-night 
light, ceaseless footfall, subway 
corridor, numbered door (3C). 

*‘Shh, honey,” Estelle said, si- 
dling out of the kitchen, *‘Bootsy’s 
doing his homework.” Sure enough, 
Henry, a law student at Columbia, 
was hunched over his books in the 
living room, and Sylvia, at Es- 
telle’s request, took off her shoes 
before tiptoeing through. Once in- 
side her room, she threw herself 
on the bed and put her hands over 
her eyes. Had today really hap- 
pened? Miss Mozart and Mr. Rev- 
ercomb, were they really there in 
the tall house on Seventy-eighth 
Street? 

‘'So, honey, what happened to- 
day?” Estelle had entered without 
knocking. 

Sylvia sat up on her elbow. 
“Nothing. Except that I typed 
ninety-seven letters.” 

“About what, honey?” asked Es- 
telle, using Sylvia’s hairbrush. 

“Oh, hell, what do you suppose? 
SnugFare, the shorts that safely 
support our leaders of Science and 
Industry.” 

“Gee, honey, don’t sound so 
cross. I don’t know what’s wrong 


with you sometimes. You sound so 
cross. Ouch! Why don’t you get a 
new brush? This one’s just knot- 
ted with hair. . . .” 

“Mostly yours.” 

“What did you say?” 

“Skip it.” 

“Oh, I thought you said some- 
thing. Anyway, like I was saying, 
I wish you didn’t have to go to that 
office and come home every day 
feeling cross and out of sorts. Per- 
sonally, and I said this to Bootsy 
just last night and he agreed with 
me one hundred percent, I said, 
Bootsy, I think Sylvia ought to get 
married: a girl high-strung like 
that needs her tensions relaxed. 
There’s no earthly reason why you 
shouldn’t. I mean maybe you’re not 
pretty in the ordinary sense, but 
you have beautiful eyes, and an 
intelligent, really sincere look. In 
fact you’re the sort of girl any pro- 
fessional man would be lucky to 
get. And I should think you would 
want to. . . . Look what a differ- 
ent person I am since I married 
Henry. Doesn’t it make you lone- 
some seeing how happy we are? 
I’m here to tell you, honey, that 
there is nothing like lying in bed 
at night with a man’s arms around 
you and . . .” 

“Estelle! For Christ’s sake!” Syl- 
via sat bolt upright in bed, anger 
on her cheeks like rouge. But after 
a moment she bit her lip and low- 
ered her eyelids. “I’m sorry,” she 
said, “I didn’t mean to shout. Only 
I wish you wouldn’t talk like that.” 



MASTER MISERY 


27 


‘It's all right," said Estelle, 
smiling in a dumb, puzzled way. 
Then she went over and gave Syl- 
via a kiss. “I understand, honey. 
It s just that you're plain worn out. 
And ril bet you haven't had any- 
thing to eat either. Come on in the 
kitchen and I’ll scramble you some 
eggs." 

When Estelle set the eggs be- 
fore her, Sylvia felt quite ashamed; 
after all, Estelle was trying to be 
nice; and so then, as though to 
make it all up, she said: “Some- 
thing did happen today." 

Estelle sat down across from 
her with a cup of coffee, and Syl- 
via went on : “I don’t know how to 
tell about it. It's so odd. But — 
well, I had lunch at the Automat 
today, and I had to share the ta- 
ble with these three men. I might 
as well have been invisible be- 
cause they talked about the most 
personal things. One of the men 
said his girl friend was going to 
have a baby and he didn’t know 
where he was going to get the 
money to do anything about it. So 
one of the other men asked him 
why didn’t he sell something. He 
said he didn’t have anything to 
sell. Whereupon the third man (he 
was rather delicate and didn’t look 
as if he belonged with the others) 
said yes, there was something he 
could sell: dreams. Even I 
laughed, but the man shook his 
head and said very seriously: no, 
it was perfectly true, his wife's 
aunt, Miss Mozart, worked for a 


rich man who bought dreams, reg- 
ular night-time dreams — from 
anybody. And he wrote down the 
man’s name and address and gave 
it to his friend; but the man simply 
left it lying on the table. It was 
too crazy for him, he said." 

“Me, too," Estelle put in a little 
righteously. 

“I don't know," said Sylvia, 
lighting a cigarette. “But I could- 
n’t get it out of my head. The 
name written on the paper was 
A. F. Revercomb and the address 
was on East Seventy-eighth Street. 
I only glanced at it for a moment, 
but it was ... I don’t know, I 
couldn’t seem to forget it. It was 
beginning to give me a headache. 
So I left the office early . . .” 

Slowly and with emphasis, Es- 
telle put down her coffee cup. 
“Honey, listen, you don't mean you 
went to see him, this Revercomb 
nut?" 

“I didn't mean to," she said, im- 
mediately embarrassed. To try and 
tell about it she now realized was 
a mistake. Estelle had no imagina- 
tion, she would never understand. 
So her eyes narrowed, the way 
they always did when she com- 
posed a lie. “And, as a matter of 
fact, I didn’t,” she said flatly. “I 
started to; but then I realized how 
silly it was, and went for a walk 
instead.” 

“That was sensible of you," said 
Estelle as she began stacking dish- 
es in the kitchen sink. “Imagine 
what might have happened. Buy- 



28 

ing dreams! Whoever beard! Uh 
uh, honey, this sure isn’t Easton.” 

Before retiring, Sylvia took a 
seconal, something she seldom 
did; but she knew otherwise she 
would never rest, not with her 
mind so nimble and somersaulting; 
then, too, she felt a curious sad- 
ness, a sense of loss, as though 
she’d been the victim of some real 
or even moral theft, as though, in 
fact, the boys encountered in the 
park had snatched (abruptly she 
switched on the light) her purse. 
The envelope Miss Mozart had 
handed her: it was in the purse, 
and until now she had forgotten 
it. She tore it open. Inside there 
was a blue note folded around a 
bill; on the note there was written : 
In payment of one dream, $5. 
And now she believed it; it was 
true, and she had sold Mr. Rever- 
comb a dream. Could it be really 
so simple as that? She laughed a 
little as she turned off the light 
again. If she were to sell a dream 
only twice a week, think of what 
she could do: a place somewhere 
all her own, she thought, deepen- 
ing toward sleep; ease, like fire- 
light, wavered over her, and there 
came the moment of twilit lan- 
tern slides, deeply deeper. His lips, 
his arms: telescoped, descending; 
and distastefully she kicked away 
the blanket. Were these cold man- 
arms the arms Estelle had spoken 
of? Mr. Revercomb’s lips brushed 
her ear as he leaned far into her 
sleep. Tell me? he whispered. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

It was a week before she saw 
him again, a Sunday afternoon in 
early December. She’d left the 
apartment intending to see a mo- 
vie, but somehow, and as though it 
had happened without her knowl- 
edge, she found herself on Madi- 
son Avenue, two blocks from Mr. 
Revercomb’s. It was a cold, silver- 
skied day, with winds sharp and 
catching as hollyhock; in store win- 
dows icicles of Christmas tinsel 
twinkled amid mounds of sequined 
snow: all to Sylvias distress, for 
she hated holidays, those times 
when one is most alone. In one 
window she saw a spectacle which 
made her stop still. It was a life- 
sized, mechanical Santa Claus; 
slapping his stomach he rocked 
back and forth in a frenzy of elec- 
trical mirth. You could hear beyond 
the thick glass his squeaky uproar- 
ious laughter. The longer she 
watched the more evil he seemed, 
until, finally, with a shudder, she 
turned and made her way into the 
street of Mr. Revercomb’s house. 
It was, from the outside, an ordi- 
nary town house, perhaps a trifle 
less polished, less imposing than 
some others, but relatively grand 
all the same. Winter-withered ivy 
writhed about the leaded window- 
panes and trailed in octopus ropes 
over the door; at the sides of the 
door were two small stone lions 
with blind, chipped eyes. Sylvia 
took a breath, then rang the bell. 
Mr. Revercomb’s Negro recognized 
her with a courteous smile. 



MASTER MISERY 


29 


On the previous visit, the par- 
lor in which she had awaited 
her audience with Mr. Rever- 
comb had been empty except for 
herself. This time there were oth- 
ers present, women of several ap- 
pearances, and an excessively ner- 
vous, gnat-eyed young man. Had 
this group been what it resembled, 
namely, patients in a doctor’s ante- 
room, he would have seemed either 
an expectant father or a victim of 
St. Vitus. Sylvia was seated next 
to him, and his fidgety eyes un- 
buttoned her rapidly: whatever 
he saw apparently intrigued him 
very little, and Sylvia was grate- 
ful when he went back to his 
twitchy preoccupations. Gradually, 
though, she became conscious of 
how interested in her the assem- 
blage seemed; in the dim, doubt- 
ful light of the plant-filled room 
their gazes were more rigid than 
the chairs upon which they sat; 
one woman was particularly re- 
lentless. Ordinarily, her face 
would have had a soft common- 
place sweetness, but now, watch- 
ing Sylvia, it was ugly with dis- 
trust, jealousy. As though trying to 
tame some creature which might 
suddenly spring full-fanged, she 
sat stroking a flea-bitten neck fur, 
her stare continuing its assault un- 
til the earthquake footstep of Miss 
Mozart was heard in the hall. Im- 
mediately, and like frightened 
students, the group, separating 
into their individual identities, 
came to attention. ‘Tou, Mr. 


Pocker,” accused Miss Mozart, 
“you’re next!” and Mr. Pocker, 
wringing his hands, jittering his 
eyes, followed after her. In the 
duskroom the gathering settled 
again like sun motes. 

It began then to rain; melting 
window reflections quivered on 
the walls, and Mr. Revercomb’s 
young butler, seeping through the 
room, stirred a fire in the grate, set 
tea things upon a table. Sylvia, 
nearest the fire, felt drowsy with 
warmth and the noise of rain; her 
head tilted sideways, she closed 
her eyes, neither asleep nor really 
awake. For a long while only the 
crystal swingings of a clock 
scratched the polished silence of 
Mr. Revercomb’s house. And then, 
abruptly, there was an enormous 
commotion in the hall, capsizing 
the room into a fury of sound: a 
bull-deep voice, vulgar as red, 
roared out: “Stop Oreilly? The bal- 
let butler and who else?” The own- 
er of this voice, a tub-shaped, 
brick-colored little man, shoved 
his way to the parlor threshold, 
where he stood drunkenly seesaw- 
ing from foot to foot. “Well, well, 
well,” he said, his gin-hoarse voice 
descending the scale, “and all 
these ladies before me? But Oreilly 
is a gentleman, Oreilly waits his 
turn.” 

“Not here, he doesn’t,” said Miss 
Mozart, stealing up behind him 
and seizing him sternly by the col- 
lar. His face went even redder and 
his eyes bubbled out: “You’re 



30 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


choking me," he gasped, but Miss 
Mozart, whose green-pale hands 
were as strong as oak roots, jerked 
his tie still tighter, and propelled 
him toward the door, which pres- 
ently slammed with shattering ef- 
fect: a tea cup tinkled, and dry 
dahlia leaves tumbled from their 
heights. The lady with the fur 
slipped an aspirin into her mouth. 
**T>\sgusting,'* she said, and the 
others, all except Sylvia, laughed 
delicately, admiringly, as Miss 
Mozart strode past dusting her 
hands. 

It was raining thick and darkly 
when Sylvia left Mr. Revercomb’s. 
She looked around the desolate 
street for a taxi; there was noth- 
ing, however, and no one; yes, 
someone, the drunk man who had 
caused the disturbance. Like a 
lonely city child, he was leaning 
against a parked car and bouncing 
a rubber ball up and down. ‘Took- 
it, kid,” he said to Sylvia, ‘'lookit, 
I just found this ball. Do you sup- 
pose that means good luck?” Syl- 
via smiled at him; for all his bra- 
vado, she thought him rather harm- 
less, and there was a quality in his 
face, some grinning sadness sug- 
gesting a clown minus make-up. 
Juggling his ball, he skipped along 
after her as she headed toward 
Madison Avenue. “Lll bet I made 
a fool of myself in there,” he said. 
*When I do things like that I just 
want to sit down and cry.” Stand- 
ing so long in the rain seemed to 
have sobered him considerably. 


‘'But she ought not to have choked 
me that way; damn, shes too 
rough. IVe known some rough 
women: my sister Berenice could 
brand the wildest bull; but that 
other one, she’s the roughest of the 
lot. Mark Oreilly’s word, she’s go- 
ing to end up in the electric chair,” 
he said, and smacked his lips. 
“They’ve got no cause to treat me 
like that. It’s every bit his fault 
anyhow. I didn’t have an awful lot 
to begin with, but then he took it 
every bit, and now I’ve got niente, 
kid, niente." 

“That’s too bad,” said Sylvia, 
though she did not know what she 
was being sympathetic about. 
“Are you a clown, Mr. OreiUy?” 

“Was,” he said. 

By this time they had reached 
the avenue, but Sylvia did not 
even look for a taxi; she wanted to 
walk on in the rain with the man 
who had been a clown. “When I 
was a little girl I only liked clown 
dolls,” she told him. “My room at 
home was like a circus.” 

“I’ve been other things besides a 
clown. I have sold insurance, too.” 

“Oh?” said Sylvia, disappointed. 
“And what do you do now?” 

Oreilly chuckled and threw his 
ball especially high; after the catch 
his head still remained tilted up- 
ward. “I watch the sky,” he said, 
“There I am with my suitcase trav- 
eling through the blue. It’s where 
you travel when you’ve got no 
place else to go. But what do I do 
on this planet? I have stolen, 



MASTER MISERY 


31 


begged, and sold my dreams — all 
for purposes of whiskey. A man 
cannot travel in the blue without 
a bottle. Which brings us to a 
point: how’d you take it, baby, if 
I asked for the loan of a dollar?’* 

“I’d take it fine,” Sylvia replied, 
and paused, uncertain of what 
she’d say next. They wandered 
along so slowly, the stiff rain en- 
closing them hke an insulating 
pressure; it was as though she were 
walking with a childhood doll, 
one grown miraculous and capa- 
ble; she reached and held his 
hand : dear clown traveling in the 
blue. “But I haven’t got a dollar. 
All I’ve got is seventy cents.” 

“No hard feelings,” said Oreilly. 
“But honest, is that the kind of 
money he’s paying nowadays?” 

Sylvia knew whom he meant. 
‘No, no — as a matter of fact, I 
didn’t sell him a dream,” She made 
no attempt to explain; she didn’t 
understand it herself. Confronting 
the graying invisibility of Mr. 
Revercomb (impeccable, exact as 
a scale, surrounded in a cologne of 
clinical odors; flat gray eyes plant- 
ed like seed in the anonymity of 
his face and sealed within steel- 
dull lenses) she could not remem- 
ber a dream, and so she told of 
two thieves who had chased her 
through the park and in and out 
among the swings of a playground. 
“Stop, he said for me to stop; there 
are dreams and dreams, he said, 
but that is not a real one, that is 
one you arc making up. Now how 


do you suppose he knew that? So 
I told him another dream; it was 
about him, of how he held me in 
the night with balloons rising and 
moons falling all around. He said 
he was not interested in dreams 
concerning himself.” Miss Mozart, 
who transcribed the dreams in 
shorthand, was told to call the next 
person. “I don’t think I will go 
back there again,” she said. 

“You will,” said Oreilly. “Look 
at me, even I go back, and he has 
long since finished with me, Mas- 
ter Misery.” 

“Master Misery? Why do you 
call him that? 

They had reached the corner 
where the maniacal Santa Claus 
rocked and bellowed. His laughter 
echoed in the rainy squeaking 
street, and a shadow of him 
swayed in the rainbow lights of 
the pavement. Oreilly, turning his 
back upon the Santa Claus, smiled 
and said: “I call him Master Mis- 
ery on account of that’s who he is. 
Master Misery. Only maybe you 
call him sometliing else; anyway, 
he is the same fellow, and you 
must've known him. All mothers 
tell their kids about him: he lives 
in hollows of trees, he comes down 
chimneys late at night, he lurks in 
graveyards and you can hear his 
step in the attic. The sonofabitch, 
he is a thief and a threat: he will 
take everything you have and end 
by leaving you nothing, not even a 
dream. Boo!” he shouted. “Now do 
you know who he is?"^ 



32 

Sylvia nodded. “I know who he 
is. My family called him something 
else. But I can’t remember what. 
It was long ago.” 

“But you remember him?” 

“Yes, I remember him.” 

“Then call him Master Misery,” 
he said, and, bouncing his ball, 
walked away from her. “Master 
Misery,” his voice trailed to a mere 
moth of sound, “Mas- ter Mis-er-y 


It was hard to look at Estelle, 
for she was in front of a window, 
and the window was filled with 
windy sun, which hurt Sylvia’s 
eyes, and the glass rattled, which 
hurt her head. Also, Estelle was 
lecturing. Her nasal voice sounded 
as though her throat were a de- 
pository of rusty razor blades. “I 
wish you could see yourself,” she 
was saying. Or was that something 
she’d said a long while back? 
Never mind. “I ddn’t know what’s 
happened to you : I’ll bet you don’t 
weigh a hundred pounds, I can see 
every bone and vein, and your 
hair! You look like a poodle.” 

Sylvia passed a hand over her 
forehead. “What time is it, Es- 
telle?” 

“It’s four,” she said, interrupt- 
ing herself long enough to look at 
her watch. “Where is your watch?” 

“I sold it,” said Sylvia, too tired 
to lie. It did not matter. She had 
sold so many things, including her 
beaver coat and gold mesh evening 
bag. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

Estelle shook her head. “I give 
up, honey, I plain give up. And 
that was the watch your mother 
gave you for graduation. It’s a 
shame,” she said, and made an 
old-maid noise with her mouth, 
“a pity and a shame. I’ll never un- 
derstand why you left us. That is 
your business, I’m sure; only how 
could you have left us for this . . . 
this . . .?” 

“Dump,” supplied Sylvia, using 
the word advisedly. It was a furn- 
ished room in the East Sixties be- 
tween Second and Third Avenues. 
Large enough for a daybed and a 
splintery old bureau with a mirror 
like a cataracted eye, it had one 
window, which looked out on a 
vast vacant lot (you could hear 
the tough afternoon voices of des- 
perate running boys) and in the 
distance, like an exclamation point 
for the skyline, there was the black 
smokestack of a factory. This 
smokestack occurred frequently in 
ler dreams; it never failed to 
arouse Miss Mozart: “Phallic, phal- 
lic,” - she would mutter, glancing 
up from her shorthand. The floor 
of the room was a garbage pail of 
books begun but never finished, 
antique newspapers, even orange 
hulls, fruit cores, underwear, a 
spilled powder box. 

Estelle kicked her way through 
this trash, and sat down on the 
daybed. “Honey, you don’t know, 
but I’ve been worried crazy. I 
mean I’ve got pride and all that 
and if you don’t like me, well o.k.; 



MASTER MISERY 


33 


but you’ve got no right to stay 
away like this and not let me hear 
from you in over a month. So to- 
day I said to Bootsy, Bootsy I’ve 
got a feeling something terrible has 
happened to Sylvia. You can im- 
agine how I felt when I called your 
office and they told me you hadn’t 
worked there for the last four 
weeks. What happened, were you 
fired?” 

'Tes, I was fired.” Sylvia began 
to sit up. “Please, Estelle — I’ve got 
to get ready; I’ve got an appoint- 
ment.” 

“Be still. You’re not going any- 
where till I know what’s wrong. 
The landlady downstairs told me 
you were found sleepwalking. 

“What do you mean talking to 
her? Why arc you spying on me?” 

Estelle’s eyes puckered, as 
though she were going to cry. She 
put her hand over Sylvia’s and pet- 
ted it gently. “Tell me, honey, is it 
because of a man?” 

“It’s because of a man, yes,” 
said Sylvia, Jaughter at the edge of 
her voice. 

“You should have come to me 
before,” Estelle sighed. “I know 
about men. That is nothing for 
you to be ashamed of. A man can 
have a way with a woman that 
kind of makes her forget everything 
else. If Henry wasn’t the fine up- 
standing potential lawyer that he 
is, why, I would still love him, and 
do things for him that before I 
knew what it was like to be with a 


man would have seemed shocking 
and horrible. But honey, this fel- 
low you’ve mixed up with, he’s 
taking advantage of you.” 

“It’s not that kind of relation- 
ship,” said Sylvia, getting up and 
locating a pair of stockings in the 
furor of her bureau drawers. “It 
hasn’t got anything to do with love. 
Forget about it. In fact, go home 
and forget about me altogether.” 

Estelle looked at her narrowly. 
'Tou scare me, Sylvia; you really 
scare me.” Sylvia laughed and went 
on getting dressed. “Do you re- 
member a long time ago when I 
said you ought to get married?” 

“Uh huh. And now you listen.” 
Sylvia turned around; there was a 
row of hairpins spaced across her 
mouth; she extracted them one at 
a time all the while she talked. 
*Tou talk about getting married as 
though it were the answer abso- 
lute; very well, up to a point I 
agree. Sure, I want to be loved; 
who the hell doesn’t? But even if 
I was willing to compromise, 
where is the man I’m going to mar- 
ry? Believe me, he must’ve fallen 
down a manhole. I mean it seri- 
ously when I say there are no men 
in New York — and even if there 
were, how do you meet them? Ev- 
ery man I ever met here who 
seemed the slightest bit attractive 
was either married, too poor to get 
married, or queer. And anyway, 
this is no place to fall in love; this 
is where you ought to come when 
you want to get over being in love. 



34 

Sure, I suppose I could marry 
somebody; but I do not want that? 
Do I?" 

Estelle shrugged. ‘Then what do 
you want?” 

“More than is coming to me.” 
She poked the last hairpin into 
place, and smoothed her eyebrows 
before the mirror. “I have an ap- 
pointment, Estelle, and it is time 
for you to go now.” 

“I can't leave you like this,” said 
Estelle, her hand waving helpless- 
ly around the room. “Sylvia, you 
were my childhood friend.” 

“That is just the point: we're 
not children any more; at least, 
Tm not. No, I want you to go 
home, and I don't want you to 
come here again. I just want you 
to forget about me.” 

Estelle fluttered at her eyes with 
a handkerchief, and by the time 
she reached the door she was 
weeping quite loudly. Sylvia could 
not aflFord remorse: having been 
mean, there was nothing to be but 
meaner. “Go on,” she said, follow- 
ing Estelle into the hall, “and 
write home any damn nonsense 
about me you want to!” Letting out 
a wail that brought other roomers 
to their doors, Estelle fled down the 
stairs. 

After this Sylvia went back into 
her room and sucked a piece of 
sugar to take the sour taste out of 
her mouth : it was her grandmoth- 
er's remedy for bad tempers. Then 
she got down on her knees and 
pulled from under the bed a cigar 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION ' 

box she kept hidden there. When 
you opened the box it played a 
homemade and somewhat disor- 
ganized version of “Oh How I 
Hate to Get up in the Morning.” 
Her brother had made the music- 
box and given it to her on her 
fourteenth birthday. Eating the 
sugar, she'd thought of her grand- 
mother, and hearing the tune she 
thought of her brother; the rooms 
of the house where they had lived 
rotated before her, all dark and 
she like a light moving among 
them: up the stairs, down, out and 
through, spring sweet and lilac 
shadows in the air and the creak- 
ing of a porch swing. All gone, she 
thought, calling their names, and 
now I am absolutely alone. The 
music stopped. But it went on in 
her head; she could hear it bugling 
above the child-cries of the vacant 
lot. And it interfered with her 
reading. She was reading a little 
diary-like book she kept inside the 
box. In this book she wrote down 
the essentials of her dreams; they 
were endless now, and it was so 
hard to remember. Today she 
would tell Mr. Revercomb about 
the three blind children. He would 
like that. The prices he paid var- 
ied, and she was sure this was at 
least a ten-dollar dream. The ci- 
gar-box anthem followed her down 
the stairs and through the streets 
and she longed for it to go away. 

In the store where Santa Claus 
had been there was a new and 
equally unnerving exhibit. Even 



MASTER MISERY 


35 


when she was late to Mr. Rever- 
comb’s, as now, Sylvia was com- 
pelled to pause by the window. 
A plaster girl with intense glass 
eyes sat astride a bicycle pedaling 
at the maddest pace; though its 
wheel spokes spun hypnotically, 
the bicycle of course never budged : 
all that eflFort and the poor girl 
going nowhere. It was a pitifully 
human situation, and one that Syl- 
via could so exactly identify with 
herself that she always felt a real 
pang. The music-box rewound in 
her head: the tune, her brother, 
the house, a high-school dance, the 
tune! Couldn’t Mr. Revercomb 
hear it? His penetrating gaze 
carried such dull suspicion. But 
he seemed pleased with her dream, 
and, when she left, Miss Mozart 
gave her an envelope containing 
ten dollars. 

had a ten-dollar dream,” she 
told Oreilly, and Oreilly, rubbing 
his hands together, said, “Fine! 
Fine! But that’s just my luck, ba- 
by — you should’ve got here sooner 
’cause I went and did a terrible 
thing. I walked into a liquor store 
up the street, snatched a quart and 
ran.” Sylvia didn’t believe him un- 
til he produced from his pinned- 
togcthcr overcoat a bottle of bour- 
bon, already half gone. '‘You’re 
going to get in trouble some day,” 
she said, “and then what would 
happen to me? I don’t know what 
I would do without you.” Oreilly 
laughed and poured a shot of the 
whiskey into a water glass. They 


were sitting in an all-night cafe- 
teria, a great glaring food depot 
alive with blue mirrors and raw 
murals. Although to Sylvia it 
seemed a sordid place, they met 
there frequently for dinner; but 
even if she could have aflForded it 
she did not know where else they 
could go, for together they pre- 
sented a curious aspect; a young 
girl and a doddering, drunken man. 
Even here people often stared at 
them; if they stared long enough, 
Oreilly would stiffen with dignity 
and say: “Hello, hot lips, I remem- 
ber you from way back. Still work- 
ing in the men’s room?” But usually 
they were left to themselves, and 
sometimes they would sit talking 
until two and three in the morn- 
ing. 

“It’s a good thing the rest of Mas- 
ter Misery’s crowd don’t know he 
gave you that ten bucks. One of 
them would say you stole the 
dream. I had that happen once. 
Eaten up, all of ’em, never saw 
such a bunch of sharks, worse than 
actors or clowns or businessmen. 
Crazy, if you think about it: you 
worry whether you’re going to go 
to sleep, if you’re going to have a 
dream, if you’re going to remem- 
ber the dream. Round and round. 
So you get a couple of bucks, so 
you rush to the nearest liquor store 
— or the nearest sleeping-pill ma- 
chine. And first thing you know, 
you’re roaming your way up out- 
house alley. Why, baby, you know 
what it’s like? It’s just like life.” 



36 

'‘No, Oreilly, that's what it isn't 
like. It hasn't anything to do with 
life. It has more to do with being 
dead. I feel as though everything 
were being taken from me, as 
though some thief were stealing 
me down to the bone. Oreilly, I 
tell you I haven’t an ambition, and 
there used to be so much. I don’t 
understand it and I don't know 
what to do.” 

He grinned. “And you say it 
isn't like life? Who understands 
life and who knows what to do?” 

“Be serious,” she said. “Be ser- 
ious and put away that whiskey 
and eat your soup before it gets 
cold.” She lighted a cigarette, and 
the smoke, smarting her eyes, in- 
tensified her frown. “If only I 
knew what he wanted with those 
dreams, all typed and filed. What 
does he do with them? You're right 
when you say he is Master Mis- 
ery. ... He can’t be simply some 
silly quack; it can’t be so meaning- 
less as that. But why does he want 
dreams? Help me, Oreilly, think, 
think: what does it mean?” 

Squinting one eye, Oreilly 
poured himself another drink; the 
clownlike twist of his mouth hard- 
ened into a line of scholarly 
straightness. “That is a million-dol- 
lar question, kid. Why don’t 'you 
ask something easy, like how to 
cure the common cold? Yes, kid, 
what does it mean? I have thought 
about it a good deal. I have thought 
about it in the process of making 
love to a woman, and I have 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

thought about it in the middle of a 
poker game.” He tossed the drink 
down his throat and shuddered. 
“Now a sound can start a dream; 
the noise of one car passing in the 
night can drop a hundred sleepers 
into the deep parts of themselves. 
It’s funny to think of that one car 
racing through the dark, trailing so 
many dreams. Sex, a sudden 
change of light, a pickle, these are 
little keys that can open up our 
insides, too. But most dreams be- 
gin because there are furies inside 
of us that blow open all the doors. 
I don’t believe in Jesus Christ, but 
I do believe in people’s souls; and 
I figure it this way, baby: dreams 
are the mind of the soul and the 
secret truth about us. Now Master 
Misery, maybe he hasn’t got a soul, 
so bit by bit he borrows yours, 
steals it like he would steal your 
dolls or the chicken wing off your 
plate. Hundreds of souls have 
passed through him and gone into 
a filing case.” 

“Oreilly, be serious,” she said 
again, annoyed because she 
thought he was making more 
jokes. “And look, your soup 
is . . She stopped abruptly, 
startled by Oreilly 's peculiar ex- 
pression. He was looking toward 
the entrance. Three men were 
there, two policemen and a civilian 
wearing a clerk’s cloth jacket. The 
clerk was pointing toward their 
table. Oreilly ’s eyes circled the 
room with trapped despair; he 
sighed then, and leaned back in 



MASTER MISERY 


37 


hIs seat, ostentatiously pouring 
himself another drink. “Good eve- 
ning, gentlemen,” he said, when 
the official party confronted him, 
“will you join us for a drink?” 

“You can't arrest him,” cried 
Sylvia, “you can't arrest a clown!” 
She threw her ten-dollar bill at 
them, but the policemen did not 
pay any attention, and she began 
to pound the table. All the cus- 
tomers in the place were staring, 
and the manager came running up, 
wringing his hands. The police 
said for Oreilly to get to his feet. 
“Certainly,” Oreilly said, “though 
I do think it shocking you have to 
trouble yourselves with such petty 
crimes as mine when everywhere 
there are master thieves afoot. For 
instance, this pretty child,” he 
stepped between the officers and 
pointed to Sylvia, “she is the recent 
victim of a major theft: poor ba- 
by, she has had her soul stolen.” 

For two days following Oreilly’s 
arrest Sylvia did not leave her 
room: sun on the window, then 
dark. By the third day she had run 
out of cigarettes, so she ventured 
as far as the comer delicatessen. 
She bought a package of cupcakes, 
a can of sardines, a newspaper 
and cigarettes. In all this time 
she'd not eaten and it was a light, 
delicious, sharpening sensation; 
but the climb back up the stairs, 
the relief of closing the door, these 
so exhausted her she could not 
quite make the daybed. She slid 


dovm to the floor and did not move 
until it was day again. She thought 
afterwards that she'd been there 
about twenty minutes. Turning on 
the radio as loud as it would go, 
she dragged a chair up to the win- 
dow and opened the newspaper on 
her lap: Lana Denies, Russia Re- 
jects, Miners Conciliate: of all 
things this was saddest, that life 
goes on : if one leaves one's lover, 
life should stop for him, and if 
one disappears from the world, 
then the world should stop, too; 
and it never did. And that was the 
real reason for most people getting 
up in the morning: not because it 
would matter but because it would- 
n't. But if Mr. Revercomb suc- 
ceeded finally in collecting all the 
dreams out of every head, perhaps 
— the idea slipped, became en- 
tangled with radio and newspaper. 
Falling Temperatures, A snow- 
storm moving across Colorado, 
across the West, falling upon all 
the small towns, yellowing every 
light, filling every footfall, falling 
now and here; but how quickly it 
had come the snowstorm: the 
roofs, the vacant lot, the distance 
deep in white and deepening, like 
sheep. She looked at the paper and 
she looked at the snow. But it 
must have been snowing all day. 
It could not have just started. 
There was no sound of traffic; in 
the swirling wastes of the vacant 
lot children circled a bonfire; a 
car, buried at the curb, winked its 
headlights: help, help! silent, like 



38 

the heart's distress. She crumbled 
a cupcake and sprinkled it on the 
windowsill: northbirds would 

come to keep her company. And 
she left the window open for them; 
snow-wind scattered flakes that 
dissolved on the floor like April- 
fool jewels. Presents Life Can Be 
Beautiful: turn down that radio! 
The witch of the woods was tap- 
ping at her door: Yes, Mrs, Hallo- 
ran, she said, and turned off the ra- 
dio altogether. Snow-quiet, sleep-si- 
lent, only the fun-fire faraway 
song-singing of children; and the 
room was blue with cold, colder 
than the cold of fairytales; lie 
down my heart among the igloo 
flowers of snow. Mr. Revercomb, 
why do you wait upon the thres- 
hold? Ah, do come inside, it is so 
cold out there. 

But her moment of waking was 
warm and held. The window was 
closed, and a mans arms were 
around her. He was singing to her, 
his voice gentle but jaunty :^chcr- 
ryberry, moneyberry, happyberry 
pie, but the best old pie is a love- 
berry pie . . • ' 

‘‘Oreilly, is it — is it really you?" 

He squeezed her. "Baby's awake 
now. And how does she feel?" 

"I had thought I was dead," she 
said, and happiness winged around 
inside her like a bird lamed but 
still flying. She tried to hug him 
and she was too weak. "I love you, 
Oreilly; you are my only friend and 
I was so frightened. I thought I 
would never see you again." She 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

paused, remembering. "But why 
aren’t you in jail?" 

Oreilly ’s face got all tickled and 
pink. "I was never in jail," he said 
mysteriously. "But first, let’s have 
something to eat. I brought some 
things up from the delicatessen 
this morning." She had a sudden 
feeling of floating. "How long have 
you been here?" 

"Since yesterday," he said, fuss- 
ing around with bundles and pa- 
per plates. ‘Tou let me in yourself." 

"That’s impossible. I don’t re- 
member it at all." 

"I know," he said, leaving it at 
that. "Here, drink your milk like a 
good kid and I’ll tell you a real 
wicked story. Oh, it’s wild," he 
promised, slapping his sides gladly 
and looking more than ever like a 
clown. "Well, like I said, I never 
was in jail and this bit of fortune 
came to me because there I was 
being hustled down the street by 
those bindlestiffs when who should 
I see come swinging along but the 
gorilla woman : you guessed it. 
Miss Mozart. Hi, I says to her, off 
to the barber shop for a shave? It’s 
about time you were put under ar- 
rest, she says, and smiles at one of 
the cops. Do your duty, officer. Oh, 
I says to her. I’m not under arrest. 
Me, I’m just on my way to the sta- 
tion house to give them the low- 
down on you, you dirty communist. 
You can imagine what sort of hol- 
ler she set up then; she grabbed 
hold of me and the cops grabbed 
hold of her. Can’t say I didn’t warn 



MASTER MISERY 


39 


them: careful, boys, I said, she’s 
got hair on her chest. And she sure 
did lay about her. So I just sort of 
walked down the street. Never 
have believed in standing around 
watching fist-fights the way people 
do in this city.” 

Orcilly stayed with her in the 
room over the weekend. It was like 
the most beautiful party Sylvia 
could remember; she’d never 
laughed so much, for one thing, 
and no one, certainly no one in 
her family, had ever made her feel 
so loved. Oreilly was a fine cook, 
and he fixed delicious dishes on 
the little electric stove; once he 
scooped snow off the windowsill 
and made sherbert flavored with 
strawberry syrup. By Sunday she 
was strong enough to dance. They 
turned on the radio and she danced 
until she fell to her knees, wind- 
less and laughing. '*111 never be 
afraid again,” she said. "I hardly 
know what I was afraid of to begin 
with.” 

'The same things youll be 
afraid of the next time,” Oreilly 
told her quietly. "That is a quality 
of Master Misery: no one ever 
knows what he is — not even chil- 
dren, and they know mostly every- 
thing.” 

Sylvia went to the window; an 
arctic whiteness lay over the city, 
but the snow had stopped, and the 
night sky was as clear as ice : there, 
riding above the river, she saw the 
first star of evening. "I see the first 
star,” she said, crossing her fingers. 


''And what do you wish when 
you see the first star?” 

''I wish to see another star,” she 
said. "At least that is what I usu- 
ally wish.” 

"But tonight?” 

She sat down on the floor and 
leaned her head against his knee. 
"Tonight I wished that I could 
have back my dreams.” 

"Don’t we all?” Oreilly said, 
stroking her hair. "But then what 
would you do? I mean what 
would you do if you could have 
them back?” 

Sylvia was silent a moment; 
when she spoke her eyes were 
gravely distant. "I would go home,” 
she said slowly. "And that is a ter- 
rible decision, for it would mean 
giving up most of my other dreams. 
But if Mr. Revercomb would let 
me have them back, then I would 
go home tomorrow.” 

Saying nothing, Oreilly went to 
the closet and brought back her 
coat. "But why?” she asked as he 
helped her on with it. "Never 
mind,” he said, "just do what I tell 
you. We’re going to pay Mr. Rev- 
ercomb a call, and you’re going 
to ask him to give you back your 
dreams. It’s a chance.” 

Sylvia balked at the door. 
"Please, Oreilly, don’t make me 
go. I can’t, please. I’m afraid.” 

"I thought you said you’d never 
be afraid again.” 

But once in the street he hur- 
ried her so quickly against the wind 
she did not have time to be fright- 



40 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


ened. It was Sunday, stores were 
closed and the traffic lights seemed 
to wink only for them, for there 
were no moving cars along the 
snow-deep avenue. Sylvia even for- 
got where they were going, and 
chattered of trivial oddments: 
right here at this corner is where 
she'd seen Garbo, and over there, 
that is where the old woman was 
run over. Presently, however, she 
stopped, out of breath and over- 
whelmed with sudden realization. 
"I can’t, Oreilly,” she said, pulling 
back. ‘What can I say to him?” 

“Make it like a business deal,” 
said Oreilly. “Tell him straight out 
that you want your dreams, and 
if he’ll give them to you vou’ll pay 
back all the money: on the install- 
ment plan, naturally. It’s simple 
enough, kid. Why the hell couldn’t 
he give them back? They are all 
right there in a filing case.” 

This speech was somehow con- 
vincing and, stamping her frozen 
feet, Sylvia went ahead with a 
certain courage. “That’s the kid,” 
he said. They separated on Third 
Avenue, Oreillv being of the opin- 
ion that Mr. Revercomb’s imme- 
diate neighborhood was not for the 
moment precisely safe. He con- 
fined himself in a doorway, now 
and then lighting a match and sing- 
ing aloud: but the best old pie is 
a whiskeyberry pie! Like a wolf, a 
long thin dog came padding over 
the moon-slats under the elevated, 
and across the street there were 
the misty shapes of men ganged 


around a bar: the idea of maybe 
cadging a drink in there made him 
“groggy. 

Just as he had decided on per- 
haps trying something of the sort, 
Sylvia appeared. And she was in 
his arms before he knew that it 
was really her. “It can't be so bad, 
sweetheart,” he said softly, holding 
her as best he could. “Don’t cry, 
baby; it’s too cold to cry: you’ll 
chap your face.” As she strangled 
for words, her crying evolved into 
a tremulous, unnatural laugh. The 
air was filled with the smoke of 
her laughter. “Do you know what 
he said?” she gasped. “Do you know 
what he said when I asked for my 
dreams?” Her head fell back, and 
her laughter rose and carried over 
the street like an abandoned, wild- 
ly colored kite. Oreilly had finally 
to shake her by the shoulders. “He 
said — I couldn’t have them back 
because — because he’d use them 
all up.” 

She was silent then, her face 
smoothing into an expressionless 
calm. She put her arm through 
Oreilly’s, and together they moved 
down the street; but it was as if 
they were friends pacing a plat- 
form, each waiting for the other’s 
train, and when they reached the 
corner he cleared his throat and 
said: “I guess I’d better turn off 
here. It’s as likely a spot as any.” 

Sylvia held on to his sleeve. 
“But where will you go, Oreilly?” 

“Traveling in the blue,” he said, 
trying a smile that didn’t work. 



MASTER MISERY 


41 


She opened her purse. ‘'A man 
cannot travel in the blue without 
a bottle,” she said, and kissing him 
on the cheek, slipped five dollars 
in his pocket. 

*‘Bless you, baby.” 

It did not matter that it was the 
last of her money, that now she 
would have to walk home, and 
alone. The pilings of snow were 
like the white waves of a white 
sea, and she rode upon them, car- 
ried by winds and tides of the 


moon. I do not know what I want, 
and perhaps I shall never know, 
but my only wish from every star 
will always be another star; and 
truly I am not afraid, she thought. 
Two boys came out of a bar and 
stared at her; in some park some 
long time ago she’d seen two boys 
and they might be the same. Truly 
I am not afraid, she thought, hear- 
ing their snowy footsteps following 
her; and anyway, there was noth- 
ing left to steal. 


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Carl Brandon, who takes issue with “the word is not the 
thing” school of General Semantics here in his first FiySF 
story, was bom in Brooklyn in 1936, and took his degree 
(in Engineering) at the University of California in 1959. He 
describes himself as an “avid traditional jazz fan who views 
all notes blown since 1929 with suspicion and usually dis- 
taste. Is presently occupied with constructing a gigantic 
Tower To The Moon of Empty Beer Cans in a patriotic 
attempt to supplement our country’s race for space. Says 
he spent years getting plots from his dreams and writing 
each story exactly as he dreamed it; finally gave up and 
made up Stanley Toothbrush out of whole cloth [sic] while 
wide awake. Cant stand crottled greeps and never orders 
them.” He also has something to say about the personalities 
of the mornings, the sound and significance of words, and 
a bohemian suitor to-end-all-bohemian suitors. And says it 
with wit and sympathy. He now lives in Rockland County, 
N.Y., where (we hope) he is engaged in writing more stories 
for us. 


STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 

by Carl Brandon 


The trouble was, Herbert 
decided as he stared baggily into 
the mirror, that Joanie just didn't 
understand about mornings. It 
was very important in this worka- 
day world to understand morn- 
ings: each day of the week had a 
different character, and you had to 
bear that in mind. Monday, of 


course, was just awful — it was 
hopeless morning, when you had 
five days of work stretching like 
parallel lines out to eternity or in- 
finity or Friday when they would 
at last meet. Tuesday was a foggy 
morning, when the lines were 
blurred and you didn't want to 
think about it. By Wednesday you 


42 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 


43 


were caught up in the office en- 
vironment and it seemed somehow, 
unthinkingly, reasonable that you 
should spend most of your life do- 
ing something you didn’t want to 
do, but Thursday was anxious 
morning, when it began to dawn 
on you anew that salvation Friday 
was coming. And Friday morning 
was the worst; that was the day 
when you could no longer resist 
measuring your sentence in hours. 

Today was Friday, and to make 
it worse Joanie had kept him up 
till two that morning. A movie, a 
few drinks afterward at her apart- 
ment, and then she’d insisted oil 
just walking around for over an 
hour, talking. Herbert lathered up 
his face and painfully began to 
scratch ofiF the night’s accumula- 
tion of beard. 

He was in a quandary. If he put 
his foot down and told Joanie 
right out that he had to get more 
sleep on week-nights she’d just get 
mad and refuse to see him at all, 
most likely. But if he continued to 
take her out every night, missing 
sleep and stumbling around the of- 
fice the next day like a badly-en- 
gineered windup toy, it wouldn’t 
be long before he was dismissed. 
Either way, he’d soon be on the 
shelf . . . shelved by Joanie, or 
shelved by Mr. Blackburn. 

His brain seemed fuzzy, and he 
found himself thinking irrationally 
about how silly that expression 
was. “On the shelf” ... a ridicu- 
lous metaphor. In the first place, 


the word ''shelT was ridiculous aU 
by itself. He ran the word through 
his brainclouds several times — ■ 
shelf, shelf, shelf. It didn’t make 
sense; it was just a random col- 
lection of sounds. Did human ani- 
mals really go around all the time 
trying to communicate with such 
pointless sounds? Shelf, shelf. 

There was a terrible crashing 
and banging all through his apart- 
ment, and Herbert nearly took oflE 
his left nostril with the razor. 

He ran out of the bathroom to 
find out what had happened, 
heedless of the soapsuds dripping 
on his livingroom rug. The noise 
had come mostly from the kitchen, 
and he went there first. He found 
his dishes (the ones that had been 
washed and put away) all over the 
floor in pieces; cans of soup and 
chili and jars of instant coffee and 
salad dressing were scattered at his 
feet. The cupboard doors stood 
open, one of them still swinging on 
its hinges. 

There was obviously no one 
else in the apartment, so it must 
have been an earthquake or some- 
thing, he decided. He hadn’t felt 
it, but then in his condition this 
morning that wasn’t surprising. He 
stood staring at the mess and de- 
cided that he had a headache too. 

Well, there was nothing to do 
but clear it up. He stooped and be- 
gan loading cans in his arms, think- 
ing about how much it would 
cost him to replace the broken 
dishes, and when he went to put 



44 

the cans back in the cupboard he 
found that there were no shelves 
left. 

They weren’t anywhere on the 
floor either; they had disappeared. 
No shelves? But that was silly. He 
opened the refrigerator and a head 
of lettuce rolled out onto the floor 
and a can of beer fell on his foot. 
The shelves in the refrigerator had 
vanished too. 

Herbert didn’t like this at all. He 
put the cans of soup down, kicked 
some dishes into a corner, and 
checked the closets. The shelves 
were gone there too. The bookcase 
by the door had collapsed, empty- 
ing onto the floor two dozen mys- 
teries, short story collections by 
Damon Runyon and Ring Lard- 
ner, and numerous books on sex in 
history, secret societies and the 
like. When he went back into the 
bathroom he found that the shelves 
in the medicine cabinet had gone 
too, and half his supply of hair 
tonic was dripping into the sink. 

He stood and pondered for a 
minute. Now let’s see . . . he 
had been shaving, and thinking 
about Joanie, and then he had de- 
cided that the word “shelf” was 
. . . unbelievable. And all the 
shelves had disappeared, just like 
that. It was a perfectly clear chain 
of circumstances. 

He decided this was a hell of a 
way to start a Friday morning. 

There wasn’t much he could do 
right now; he was already late at 
the office. He hurriedly finished 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

shaving, left his razor in the sink, 
put on a tie, and went to work. 

When he entered the office Mar- 
cia frowned at him from behind 
the switchboard, so he knew Mr. 
Blackburn was mad. He hung up 
his coat (noticing that the shelves 
hadn’t disappeared from the closets 
here) and hurried to his desk. 

In a moment the phone rang. 
“Mr. Blackburn would like you to 
step into his office,” Marcia said. 

Herbert went in, carrying with 
him the list of Los Angeles news- 
papers he had contacted for the 
Paperap ads. He didn’t suppose he 
could change the subject, but he 
might as well try. 

“Here’s the list you wanted,” he 
said briskly. “I’m not sure about 
the advisability of this Pasadena 
thing, but — ” 

“I wanted that list yesterday,” 
Mr. Blackburn said calmly. “Put it 
down there. Why were you late 
this morning?” 

“I’m sorry, sir; I had a little 
trouble at home.” 

“What kind of trouble?” 

All my shelves blinked out of 
existence, Herbert said in his mind, 
trying it on for size. No, that 
wouldn’t do at all. 

“I cut myself shaving. Couldn’t 
stop the bleeding for almost an 
hour — must have hit a vein or 
something. A wonder I didn’t bleed 
to death, sir, ha ha, then I would 
have been really late getting in.” 

Mr. Blackburn stared coldly at 
him. “See that it doesn’t happen 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 

again,” he said. “We don't want 
our employees cutting their throats 
every morning. Now go away.” 

Herbert went away. He sat at 
his desk for ten minutes thinking 
that he would really have to be 
sure to come in on time for the 
next several days. No more non- 
sense like this morning. And then 
he sat back in his chair and won- 
dered how one went about seeing 
that his shelves didn't disappear. 

Well, it had happened because 
he'd decided that “shelf was a 
nonsensical word. Presumably it 
could happen again, if he got to 
thinking about some other words. 
That newspaper list he'd given to 
Mr. Blackburn, for instance — 
what if that had disappeared? Aft- 
er all — noos'pay-per-lisst was pret- 
ty silly too. But he'd better not 
think about that. 

His phone rang. “Mr. Blackburn 
would like you to step into his of- 
fice,'' Marcia said. 

“Yes, I know,'' said Herbert, 
knowing. He went in. 

“Where's that list you just gave 
me?” said Mr. Blackburn. 

“I'll look for it again,” he said, 
and walked slowly back to his desk. 
He sorted through various sheets of 
paper on his desktop and in his 
drawers and within half an hour 
was able to make up a duplicate, 
which he gave to Mr. Blackburn. 

Then he sat at his desk and 
frowned. He didn't like this one 
bit. He'd read a httle about wild 
talents, of course — people who 


4 > 

could tell what cards were before 
they were turned over, people who 
could control the roll of dice, who 
could read minds or see into the 
future. They were usually erratic, 
undependable, and often useless — 
like the lady in Sinking Springs, 
Pennsylvania who could tell where 
every frog within ten miles was at 
any given time, or the man out in 
Idaho who could hear the radia- 
tion from stars. It was undoubtedly 
something to do with the unused 
% of the brain — at least, that was 
as close as Herbert could come to a 
rational explanation of it. Some- 
thing probably caused it. 

And now he could make things 
disappear, snuffed out of existence, 
just because he didn't believe in 
certain words. That seemed to him 
even more unscientific, even more 
silly — a random wild talent for 
performing nonsensicalities. He 
couldn't suppress the feeling that 
a person with a talent should be 
able to use it for something useful. 

He stared at the blank wall 
across from him and repeated over 
and over again in his mind, Mr. 
Blackburn, Mr. Blackburn, Mr. 
Blackburn, Mr. Blackburn . . . 

Then he picked up the phone. 
“Marcia, is Mr. Blackburn still in 
his office?” 

“Yes, he's on another line,” she 
said. 

“Oh.” Herbert put the phone 
back down. Maybe it wouldn't 
work with just last names. Know- 
ing a person's True Name had 



46 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


been quite important in magic cir- 
cles for centuries — if you knew 
someone's True Name, it had been 
believed, you had immense power 
over him. 

Perhaps because you could, at 
will, make him disappear? 

He picked up the phone again. 
“Marcia, what’s Mr, Blackburn’s 
full name? His first and middle 
names, I mean.” 

“His first name is Chester. Wait 
a minute, I have his middle name 
here somewhere . . .” There was 
a rustling. “Yes, his middle name 
is Hartwick, H-a-r-t-w-i-c-k.” 

“Thank you,” Herbert said, and 
hung up. Now that was all very 
fine — Chester Hartwick Blackburn 
would be an easy name not to be- 
lieve in. In fact, Herbert wondered 
for a moment how Mr. Blackburn 
had got this far through life with- 
out having been snuffed out that 
way. But perhaps no one else had 
Herbert's talent. 

Chester Hartwick Blackburn^ 
Chester Hartwick Blackburn, 
Chester Hartwick Blackburn, said 
Herbert in his mind. What a silly 
combination of syllables. Of course 
they were thoroughly meaningless. 

He picked up the phone. “Is Mr. 
Blackburn still on that other line, 
Marcia?” 

“Yes, he is.” 

“Are you sure? Can you just 
plug in for a second and see if 
he's still talking?” 

“Just a minute . . There 
were a few clicks. “Yes, he's still 


talking. Do you want me to con- 
nect you with him when he's oft 
again?” 

“God, no,” Herbert muttered, 
and hung up. 

Well, all right then — he could- 
n't will people out of existence 
simply by disbelieving in their 
names. All that business about 
True Names had been about some 
mythical abstraction, anyway, not 
just the name someone’s parents 
might give them. Who could know 
what Mr. Blackburn’s True Name 
was? 

He stared at the clutter of pa- 
pers on his desk, focussing about 
two inches beyond them and see- 
ing them only as a white blur, 
while he continued to toy with the 
whole idea. A lot of the formulas 
devised by medieval magicians for 
conjuring the devil and various 
demons had involved using their 
True Names. And those strange 
chants they used in their prepara- 
tions could have simply been the 
names of various things, maybe 
forces, which prevented the other- 
world beings from getting in — sort 
of like deciding that doors didn't 
exist instead of getting up to open 
one when there was a knock. May- 
be those old magicians had sat 
there muttering “Abracadabra” 
over and over because an acabra- 
cadabra was some sort of closed 
door between this world and an- 
other, and if they disbelieved in the 
word the door would cease to bar 
the way. 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 


47 


Herbert sat up at his desk and 
frowned. But of course all this 
speculation was not only silly, but 
useless as well. Just the sort of 
thing a person could get to think- 
ing about on a Friday morning. 
He hunched over his desk and got 
busy at his day’s work. 

That evening when he got home 
he carefully cleared up the kitchen 
and the medcine cabinet and clos- 
ets and bookcases, stacking cans 
and bottles and galoshes and such 
on the floor or on ledges. (“Ledges” 
was a good, sensible word, Herbert 
decided, and carefully refrained 
from thinking about it any more.) 
Then he called Joanie. 

“I was thinking of going danc- 
ing tonight,” he said. “Shall I 
pick you up around eight?” 

There was a short silence on her 
end. “Oh, Herbie honey, I think 
you’d better rest tonight — you were 
up awfully late last night, and you 
know how you complain. I’ve in- 
vited someone over to watch TV.” 

Herbert frowned. “But it’s Fri- 
day night — I don’t have to go to 
work tomorrow.” 

“Well, just the same I think 
you should get some sleep,” she 
said. “You’ve been looking so 
tired.” 

“Joanie, what’s come over you?” 

She laughed, a soft laugh that 
he always found delightful. “Well, 
actually, I’ve got a new beau, Her- 
bie, and he’s taking me out tonight. 
His name is Stanley.” 


'"Stanley what?’' Herbert said in 
a low voice. 

She giggled. “Oh, Herbie! Stan- 
ley Toothbrush, then, because he 
always carries a toothbrush with 
him in case he ever wants to go 
somewhere suddenly. He used to 
live in Chicago, but one time he 
went to the store to buy some 
Kleenex and decided to come to 
New York instead, and he did. He's 
like that, so I call him Stanley 
Toothbrush. It fits him so much 
better than his real name.” 

“Yes,^ it seems to,” Herbert 
growled. “Well, I hope the two of 
you will be very happy.” 

“What?” she said. “Herbie? You 
didn’t believe me, did you? I was 
only joking, honey, you know 
that.” 

'Were you,” he said. 

“Well of course. Oh, Herbie, 
don’t be silly. Edna is coming over 
tonight and we’re going to watch 
television and shellac our nails. 
Honestly!” 

“But I wanted to go dancing,” 
he said. 

“Well, not tonight, because Ed- 
na’s on her way here already. 
Anyway, you ought to be proud of 
me, because you’ve been saying for 
a long time that you need more 
rest nights, and now I’ve finally — ” 

“I guess so,” he said, and they 
said goodbye. 

He set about fixing dinner for 
himself, heating beans and franks. 
He turned on the burner and 
dammed the pan down on it and 



48 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


then stood with his hands on his 
hips, irritably waiting for the wa- 
ter to boil. He usually wasn’t so 
impatient about cooking, but to- 
night he was in a bad mood. Not 
enough sleep recently, for one 
thing. 

But Joanies imaginary boy- 
friend was worrying him too. May- 
be he wasn’t so imaginary at that. 
And come to think of it, who was 
Edna? Joanie had never men- 
tioned her before. This was all 
very suspicious. 

Of course, he really needn’t 
worry too much, he thought as he 
dropped the cold franks into the 
water. This Stanley Toothbrush 
didn’t sound like much competition 
— a fellow with so little stability 
that he’d take off and move a thou- 
sand miles to another city over- 
night couldn’t have much to oflFer a 
girl. No security, no future . . . 
He probably didn’t shave, either. 

But still, his bipartisan mind 
told him, Stanley Toothbrush 
might be a fascinating person . . . 
just the sort of wild, funloving, 
carefree Casanova that a girl could 
ruin herself over. And, since he 
was so lax about responsibilities, he 
probably didn’t have a regular job 
and was therefore free to take 
Joanie out every night. He could 
probably sweep her off her feet 
while Herbert was struggling to 
keep his job. 

It was all very unfair. Herbert 
certainly hoped that Stanley Tooth- 
brush really didn’t exist, as Joanie 


had assured him. And in fact, may- 
be it would be a good idea to do 
something about that himself. If 
ever he’d heard a person’s True 
Name, it was Stanley Toothbrush. 

Stanley Toothbrush must go. It 
was a quite senseless name in the 
first place, easy to disbelieve. Stan- 
ley Toothbrush, Stanley Tooth- 
brush, Stanley Toothbrush . . . 

At the end of an hour Herbert 
had to stop repeating Stanley’s 
name in his head. He had said it 
so often that it had almost begun 
to sound real. 

The next afternoon Herbert 
went to Joanie's apartment in per- 
son. He rang the bell and the lit- 
tle peephole opened, and he saw 
Joanie’s blue left eye, trimmed with 
long dark lashes, looking at him. 

*‘It’s me,” he said. 

”Oh! Herbie!” Joanie sounded 
upset. “Herbie, you’ll have to go 
away ... I mean, come back 
later. I’m not decent.” 

“At three o’clock in the after- 
noon?” he said. 

“Well, 1 was going to . . . take 
a shower. I’m completely nude, 
without a stitch/* 

“That’s fine,” he said. 

“Herbert!” 

“All right. I’ll come back in half 
an hour.” He went out and killed 
time looking at the magazines in a 
drug store. He saw an ad for some 
toothpaste, and that reminded 
him of Stanley Toothbrush, whom 
he didn’t want to think about be- 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 


49 


cause he didn’t exist anyway, if he 
had ever existed. If he had, Her- 
bert had done away with him, he 
hoped. 

When he went back to Joanie’s 
apartment and rang she opened 
the peephole at him again. “Oh, 
Herbie, can you — ” 

“Let me in, Joanie,” he said de- 
cisively. 

“But Tm still not — 

“Your eye is quite thoroughly 
made up,” he said, “and I know 
that you never do your eyes until 
you're dressed. Now open the 
door.” 

Joanie made a small sound and 
her left eyebrow came down to 
show part of what must have been 
a much bigger frown. “Well, all 
right.” 

She opened the door and Her- 
bert walked in. Standing by the 
door to the kitchen was a young 
man who could have been no one 
but Stanley Toothbrush. 

“I didn't want you to — I was 
trying to get rid of him,” Joanie 
whispered quickly to him, and then 
said aloud, “Herbert, this is Stan- 
ley .. . Stanley Toothbrush, I 
don't know his real last name.” 

“How do you do,” said Herbert 
evenly. 

Stanley Toothbrush waved casu- 
ally at him, leaning against the 
wall and displaying even white 
teeth in a full, friendly smile. He 
had dark sandy hair and rugged 
features, and he stood at least six 
feet tall, much more impressive 


than Herbert's own five feet nine. 
His face had a day's stubble. 

“We were just going off for a 
boat ride around Manhattan,” said 
Stanley. “You can come too, we 
wouldn't mind.” 

“No!” said Joanie, and then 
when Herbert turned to look at her 
she said, “I mean yes of course you 
can come, but I was trying to — ” 

“Fine! Let's aU go!” said Stanley, 
and picked up his weathered brown 
jacket from where it had been lying 
over the back of a chair. 

Joanie was standing in the mid- 
dle of the room, looking from one 
to the other of them helplessly. 
“I wasn't going to go in the first 
place,” she said. 

“But it's aU settled,” Stanley 
said reasonably, and led the two 
of them out the door. Herbert fol- 
lowed seethingly, not saying a 
word. 

They caught a cab and arrived 
at the dock where the excursion 
boat was tied up just in time for 
the next trip. Several times Joanie 
tried to say something to Herbert, 
but he sat in such stony silence and 
Stanley continued to chatter so 
unconcernedly that each time she 
gave up with a shrug and a little 
frustrated sound. 

“Now don't do anything unnec- 
essary like paying,” said Stanley 
when they approached the ramp. 
“Leave it to me, I have connec- 
tions.” 

“I thought you would,” Herbert 
muttered. 



50 

Stanley walked up to the ticket- 
taker and slapped him on the 
shoulder. Herbert couldn’t hear 
what he was saying, but Stanley 
was smiling and laughing and oc- 
casionally nodding over at him and 
Joanie. The ticket man grinned 
back at him and waved them all 
on. 

As they took their seats by the 
boat’s railing Stanley leaned over 
and said confidentially to Herbert, 
“Took a little finagling, but don’t 
worry about it. Had to tell him that 
Joanie was with you and I was 
showing the two of you the sights. 
I gave him a lot of stuflF about 
young lovebirds — it probably 
would've made you sick to hear it, 
but he liked it.” Then Stanley 
turned back to Joanie, who had 
been maneuvered into sitting on 
his other side, and started telling 
her about how he had worked for 
a few days on the building of the 
very boat they were on. 

Herbert didn’t listen. He stared 
blackly into the water which 
lapped against the boatside, re- 
peating in his head, Stanley Tooth- 
brush, Stanley Toothbrush. The 
name was frighteningly believable. 

He looked up when a woman in 
her fifties sat down next to him, 
fussing with her bag and struggling 
to get out of her heavy coat. Her- 
bert helped her with that and she 
laid the coat across her ample lap, 
and then he began to stare into the 
water again. But she wouldn’t let 
him. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

She tapped him on the shoulder. 
“Do you see the terribly handsome 
man standing on the quay?’’ she 
said softly. “The one with the dog? 
Well, that’s my husband.” 

“Who, the dog?” said Herbert, 
coming up out of the water. “Oh, 
no. I’m sorry. Yes, he’s very hand- 
some.” 

“We were just married last 
week,” she said, “and we’ve come 
to the big city for our honeymoon. 
But he has to stay and wait for me 
because O’Shaughnessy has heart 
trouble. He’s almost twenty years 
old.” 

“Good heavens!” said Herbert, 
staring at her husband. 

“He’s an Irish wolfhound, and 
he won’t drink his water,” she said. 

“Oh, yes, of course,” Herbert 
said, and just then the boat started 
backing out from the pier. 

He turned back to Stanley and 
Joanie. Stanley was pointing up 
the Hudson and saying, “There’s 
a fine little park up there, looks 
out on the river and is all terraced 
in the center and wild around the 
edges. Squirrels and all. We ought 
to go up there tomorrow.” 

“Well, I don’t — ” said Joanie 
helplessly. 

“It’s just a quick ride on the 
subway,” Stanley said. “You’ve still 
got all those tokens you bought last 
night, haven’t you?” 

“Well, yes.” 

“Then fine, and it won’t cost a 
thing,” said Stanley. 

“I think I have to powder my 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 


51 


nose,” she said, and got up and 
went oflF to the concessions area of 
the boat. She looked at Herbert as 
she passed, and made some kind of 
a pleading face. Herbert got up and 
followed her. 

She stopped just inside the door 
to the concessions-room. **Herbie 
honey, IVe been trying to get a 
word in edgeways. Honestly, he 
just showed up last night, and Fd 
never seen him before. I can't get 
rid of him." 

'Tou had a date with me last 
night," Herbert said. "You could 
have told him that." 

"But I didn't. I mean, Fd al- 
ready told you I was going to stay 
home, and then Edna said she 
couldn't come — " 

"Well, why was he hanging 
around anyway, if you didn’t en- 
courage him? And what do you 
mean, he came after you’d told me 
you were staying home? You'd al- 
readv made a date with him when 
I called." 

"But I hadn't, that’s what Fm 
trying to tell you! Fd never seen 
him before, and I just made him 
up to tease you, Herbie. And then 
there he was, at my door, and 
what could I do?” 

Herbert stared at her. "You 
really made him up when you were 
talking to me?” 

"Yes, honestly, Herbie.” 

"And then he showed up, and 
his name is Stanley Toothbrush?” 

"Yes, and he has a toothbrush 
in his right pants pocket.” She 


waved her hands. "I couldn’t get 
rid of him all night — he insisted 
and he insisted, and I didn’t want 
to hurt him. He’s very sensitive, 
Herbie, you’d be surprised.” 

"AH night?" said Herbert. 

"Well, he slept right outside my 
apartment, right there in the hall, 
and I couldn’t just send him away.” 

Herbert shook his head. "This 
has ceased to be ridiculous,” he 
muttered. 

"What?” 

"Joanie, this is crazy, but you 
remember what I told you about 
the powers of the mind? That book 
I was reading? Well, Vve got it 
now!" 

Two passengers who had been 
standing next to him edged away. 

"I mean Fve got some crazy kind 
of wild talent,” Herbert said more 
softly. "Listen, yesterday morning 
I was shaving, and I started think- 
ing, I don’t know why, about what 
a ridiculous word ‘shelf’ is. You 
know, if you say a word over and 
over often enough it loses all its 
meaning. So I did that with ‘shelf,’ 
and all of a sudden all the shelves 
in mv apartment disappeared!” 

"Herbert!” 

"No, Joanie, Fm serious. I can 
show you the apartment — they’re 
all gone, and things are all over the 
floor. So anyway, last night when 
you told me about Stanley, I tried 
to make him disappear too — but I 
said his name over and over so 
much that it began to make sense. 
And that must have been what 



52 

happened, that’s where he came 
from.” 

Joanie frowned and pursed her 
lips. ‘'Herbie, if you’re joking — ” 

“Now why would I joke about 
Stanley Toothbrush?” Herbert said. 
“He’s no laughing matter!” 

“Then show me,” she said. 

“What? Show you?” 

“Make something disappear.” 
She tapped her foot. 

“Well ... I mean, it’s a wild 
talent, and it may not work just 
like turning it on and off.” 

“Herbert.” 

“All right. I’ll try.” He looked 
around the concession area, and 
spotted a man with a red mous- 
tache and a derby. He looked ridi- 
culous, but Herbert couldn’t de- 
cide whether it was the fault of the 
hat or the moustache. Well, either 
one would do. 

“What do you think of that man 
over there?” he said to Joanie, and 
in his mind he said moustache, 
moustache. 

“That man?” she said, 

“Yes.” Mus-tash, he thought. 
Mwss-tash. 

“Oh!” Joanie put her fingers to 
her mouth in surprise. 

The man muttered to his wife, 
“Demmed dreft in here.” She 
stared at him and shuddered, and 
pointed, and he wrinkled his 
mouth and frowned and gasped 
and ran to the men’s room. 

Herbert smiled. “You see? And 
that’s where Stanley Toothbrush 
came from.” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“But what are we going to do?” 
she said. 

“I don’t know.” Herbert’s grin 
vanished, “Every time I try to 
make him disappear he just gets 
more real.” 

“Well, we’ve got to do some- 
thing,” Joanie said. 

Stanley Toothbrush walked up 
behind them just then and said 
heartily, “How about something to 
eat? They have hot dogs here, 
and hamburgers, anything you 
want.” 

“I’m not hungry,” Herbert said 
shortly, and went back to his seat 
by the rail. Stanley steered Joanie 
to the concessions stand and she 
bought two hotdogs. 

The woman whose Irish wolf- 
hound had heart trouble said to 
Herbert, “Have you noticed how 
wonderfully wet the river is to- 
day? The water just goes down 
and down, fathom after fathom 
or whatever they are.” 

“I’m afraid so,” Herbert said ab- 
stractedly. “I hope your dog gets 
well soon.” 

“Oh, he won’t,” the woman said 
lightly. “He’ll die in a week or so 
— married life is so hard on him. 
I’m afraid Arnold and I shock him 
with our behavior.” 

“Well, it’s terrible when a dog’s 
nerves start acting up,” said Her- 
bert, and then he grimaced and 
wondered why he let himself be 
drawn into such conversations. He 
leaned over the rail and stared into 
the water again. 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 


53 


'‘It’s very wet, very wet,** said 
the woman, “and I suppose there 
are fish in it.** 

“It’s conceivable,’* said Herbert, 
and had a vision of a huge beast of 
a shark arcing out of the water and 
snapping Stanley Toothbrush from 
the boat, glom just like that. 

“Oh dear!’* said the woman sud- 
denly, and Herbert looked up to 
see her pointing frantically down 
at the river. “I dropped my bag! 
Oh, my heavens! It’s in the waterl 
Back there!” 

“Back where?” said Herbert. 
“It’s probably sunk already.” 

He heard running footsteps, and 
suddenly Stanley was beside them, 
taking ofiE his shoes. “You lost your 
purse, lady?” 

“Yes, it’s back there!** 

“Hold my hotdog,” Stanley said, 
and thrust it into the woman’s 
hand and dived overboard. It was- 
n’t a very good dive; he went end- 
over-end and hit the water feet- 
first, but he came up sputtering 
and swam strongly back to the 
area where the purse had been 
dropped. A crowd was gathering 
around Herbert and the woman. 

“It’s probably sunk to the bot- 
tom,” Herbert said. 

“Well, it was one of those new 
materials, plastic or something,” 
said the woman, beaming happily 
at all the attention. “I think it was 
watertight. It may float.” 

“Did Stanley go in the water?’' 
Joanie asked, coming up behind 
them. 


'Tes, he's a good swimmer,** 
Herbert said. “I always knew he 
would be.” 

The boat blew a whistle and 
swung around to pick up Stanley, 
while the loudspeaker told every- 
one to remain calm and stay in 
their seats. Stanley had almost 
reached the purse. 

“How gallant of him!** said 
Joanie. “Herbie, you must admit 
that was a sweet thing for him to 
do.” 

Herbert looked slightly dis- 
gusted and shrugged. “It’s a Stan- 
ley Toothbrush thing to do,” he 
said. “If you’re so impressed with 
him, just remember that I made 
him up.” 

“Well, you needn’t be short 
with me,” Joanie said. “And any- 
way, I’ll bet Stanley is just some 
sort of wish-fulfillment of yours — 
he acts the way you secretly wish 
you could.” She wrinkled her nose 
at him. “There, you see I read a 
book or two every now and then 
myself.” 

“I don’t want to talk about it,” 
said Herbert. 

By tlie time the boat had re- 
tracked to where Stanley was, he 
had come up with the purse drip- 
ping in his hand. The ship’s crew 
lowered a ladder over the side and 
gave him a hand up, and Stanley 
immediately squished in wet stock- 
ingfeet over to the Irish wolfhound 
woman and delivered her purse 
with a sloshy bow. Then he took 
his hotdog back from her. 



54 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


'It was just wonderful of you to 
swim after it/' the woman said to 
him. "You went over the side like a 
real-life Sir Walter Raleigh!" 

Stanley gave a crooked grin and 
shrugged. "It wasn’t much of a 
dive,” he said around the hotdog. 

"Wasn't he wonderful, my 
dear?" said the woman, to Joanie. 

"Yes, I thought it was very gal- 
lant, that's the word I can think 
of," she said. 

"If only Arnold could have seen 
you!” said the woman. 

"Arnold is her husband,” Her- 
bert explained, and added under 
his breath, "Fortunately, he doesn’t 
have heart trouble, like some dogs 
I know." 

^ The woman was still beaming 
delightedly at Stanley, holding her 
dripping purse. Joanie was flutter- 
ing around him, trying to get his 
shirt off so it would dry, and Her- 
bert felt quite disgusted. He shook 
his head and walked off around to 
the other side of the boat. 

The rest of the excursion was 
thoroughly ruined for him. He sat 
apart from Stanley and Joanie, and 
when at one point she came over 
to him he was irritable and they 
had words. By the time the boat 
docked back at its point of depar- 
ture over an hour later he was in 
a vile mood. 

Stanley’s clothes had dried a bit 
by then, and he had squeezed back 
into his shoes. "Well, what shall we 
do now?" he said lightly as they 
stepped off the boat. 


"I think we should go to Her- 
bert's apartment," said Joanie. 
"You could hang your clothes over 
the radiator, and we could all have 
a few drinks." 

"While he sits there without any 
clothes on?” cried Herbert. 

"Oh don't be silly, you can lend 
him some dry clothes to wear,” she 
said, and took his arm to lead him 
off toward a waiting cab. 

They did go to Herbert's apart- 
ment, and when they came in the 
door Herbert remembered that he 
had meant to buy some new 
shelves today. Books and cans and 
such were still sitting on the floor, 
and it looked pretty bad. 

Stanley looked around the place 
and said lightly, "Well, bachelor’s 
apartment, eh? You should get a 
woman to take care of you, Her- 
bie.” Herbert glared at him. 

Joanie glanced around briefly 
and then went to the kitchen, 
where Herbert always kept a bot- 
tle on the drainboard. "I’ll mix 
some drinks," she said, "while you 
go in the bedroom and get out of 
those clothes, Stanley." 

Stanley grinned and followed 
Herbert while he found some clean 
underwear, pants and shirt for 
him. He picked the oldest and 
most faded clothes he had. "Hang 
the clothes in the shower," he said, 
and went into the kitchen. 

Joanie was cross. 'Tou needn't 
be a bad sport about it," she said. 
"He does have some good qualities, 
as you can see." 



STANLEY TOOTHBRUSH 


55 


''His ribs stick out,” Herbert 
said. 

"Oh, honestly, Herbie! Your 
whole attitude toward him is in- 
credible. First you try to tell me 
that you . . . made him up, or 
created him or something, then 
you — ” 

"But I did!” said Herbert. ”Or 
at least you did, and then I brought 
him into existence by accident. He 
doesn’t even belong here.” 

"Well, if you brought him into 
existence or whatever, then it’s 
your own fault and it serves you 
right,” she said. "Anyway, I don’t 
believe tliat story about you and 
your whatever-it-is.” 

"It’s a wild talent,” said Herbert. 
"I told you.” 

"Well, you and your wild talons 
can just — ” 

"Wild talent, wild talent!” he 
said. 

"What?” 

"WiW talentl Good God, can’t 
you — ” 

"Wild talent, wild talent,” she 
said. "That's a silly name for it, 
don’t you think? Herbie, why don’t 
you go in the bedroom and see if 
Stanley is still there?” 


"Of course he’s stiU there, unless 
he suddenly went to Chicago,” 
said Herbert. 

"I doubt it,” Joanie said, grin- 
ning. "For one thing, your shelves 
are back.” She waved a hand at the 
cupboard. 

"Well I’ll be damned,” Herbert 
said. 

"Not necessarily. But do go see 
if Stanley is gone, please.” 

Herbert went. The bedroom was 
empty, the clothes he had given 
Stanley were lying on the floor, 
and though the showerstall showed 
where his wet clothes had dripped 
Stanley Toothbrush wasn’t there 
either. 

Herbert went into the kitchen 
and kissed the back of Joanie’s 
neck. "You’re a genius,” he said. 

"Yes, and what’s more I only 
mixed two drinks,” she said. "Now 
tell me what we’re going to do to- 
night.” 

Monday morning Herbert stared 
Wearily into the mirror and de- 
cided that "morning” was the most 
ridiculous and idiotic word he had 
ever heard. But of course it did him 
no good. 



Confirmedy semUconfirmed, and occasional shunptkes (as 
well as shunpikes manque) will be pleased to learn that 
Zenna Henderson once drove clear across country without 
ever paying a single toll All the above, as well as non- 
drivers, will remember her stories of The People— Ararat, 
Jordan, and the others— in this magazine. Here, at some date 
in the future, never delineated, because unimportant. Miss 
Henderson confronts us with the problems of invaders who 
wanted something less than conquest; of defenders who felt 
forced to wage war unless they could learn what that some- 
thing was; of Splinter, who didnt want even a fish to die; 
and of Doovie, who could close his nose and fold down his 
ears. 


SUBCOMMITTEE 


by Zenna Henderson 


First came the sleek black 
ships, falling out of the sky in pat- 
terned disorder, sowing fear as 
they settled like seeds on the broad 
landing field. After them, like 
bright butterflies, came the vivid- 
ly-colored slow ships that hovered 
and hesitated and came to rest 
scattered among the deadly dark 
ones. 

^'Beautiful!” sighed Serena, turn- 
ing from the conference room win- 
dow. ‘There should have been mu- 
sic to go with it.'' 

“A funeral dirge," said Thorn, 
“Or a requiem. Or flutes before 


failure. Frankly, I'm frightened, 
Rena. If these conferences fail, 
all hell will break loose again. Im- 
agine living another year like this 
past one.” 

"But the conference won't fail!" 
Serena protested. "If they're will- 
ing to consent to the conference, 
surely they'll be willing to work 
with us for peace." 

"Their peace or ours?" asked 
Thorn, staring morosely out the 
window. "I’m afraid we're being 
entirely too naive about this whole 
affair. It’s been a long time since 
we finally were able to say, ‘Ain't 


56 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


57 


gonna study war no more’, and 
made it sticL We ve lost a lot of the 
cunning that used to be necessary 
in dealing with other people. We 
can't, even now, be sure this isn't 
a trick to get all our high com- 
mand together in one place for a 
grand massacre." 

"Oh, no!” Serena pressed close 
to him and his arm went around 
her. "They couldn’t possibly vio- 
late—” 

"Couldn't they?” Thorn pressed 
his cheek to the top of her head. 
"We don't know, Rena. We just 
don't know. We have so little in- 
formation about them. We know 
practically nothing about their cus- 
toms — even less about their values 
or from what frame of reference 
they look upon our suggestion of 
suspending hostilities.” 

"But surely they must be sincere. 
They brought their families along 
with them. You did say those 
bright ships are family craft, didn't 
you?” 

"Yes, they suggested we bring 
our families and they brought their 
families along with them, but it's 
nothing to give us comfort. They 
take them everywhere — even into 
battle.” ^ 

"Into battle!" 

‘Tfes. They mass the home craft 
ofiF out of range during battles, but 
everytime we disable or blast one of 
their fighters, one or more of the 
home craft spin away out of con-" 
trol or flare into nothingness. Ap- 
parently they're just glorified trail- 


ers, dependent on the fighters for 
motive power and everything else.” 
The unhappy lines deepened in 
Thorn's face. "They don't know it, 
but even apart from their super- 
ior weapons, they practically forced 
us into this truce. How could we 
go on wiping out their war fleet 
when, with every black ship, those 
confounded posy-colored home 
craft fell too, like pulling petals ofiF 
a flower. And each petal heavy 
with the lives of women and chil- 
dren.” 

Serena shivered and pressed 
closer to Thorn. "The conference 
must work. We just can't have war 
any more. You've got to get through 
to them. Surely, if we want peace 
and so do they — " 

"We don't know what they 
want,” said Thorn heavily. "Invad- 
ers, aggressors, strangers from hos- 
tile worlds — so completely alien to 
us — How can we ever hope to get 
together?” 

They left the conference room 
in silence, snapping the button on 
the door knob before they closed it. 

"Hey, lookit, Mommie! Here's a 
wall!” Splinter’s five-year-old hands 
flattened themselves like grubby 
starfish against the greenish rip- 
ple of the ten foot vitricrete fence 
that wound through the trees and 
slid down the gentle curve of the 
hill. "Where did it come from? 
What’s it for? How come we can't 
go play in the go'fish pond any- 
more?” 



58 

Serena leaned her hand against 
the wall. “The people who came in 
the pretty ships wanted a place to 
walk and play, too. So the Con- 
struction Corp put the fence up for 
them.” 

“Why won’t they let me play in 
the go’fish pond?” Splinter’s brows 
bent ominously. 

“They don’t know you want to,” 
said Serena. 

“I’ll tell them, then,” said Splin- 
ter. He threw his head back. “Hey!” 
Over there!” He yelled, his fists 
doubling and his whole body stif- 
fening with the intensity of the 
shout. “Hey! I wanta play in the 
go’fish pond!” 

Serena laughed. “Hush, Splin- 
ter. Even if they could hear you, 
they wouldn’t understand. They’re 
from far, far away. They don’t talk 
the way we do.” 

“But maybe we could play,” said 
Splinter wistfully. 

’Tes,” sighed Serena, “Maybe 
you could play. If the fence weren’t 
there. But you see, Splinter, we 
don’t know what kind of — people 
— they are. Whether they would 
want to play. Whether they would 
be — nice.” 

“Well, how can we find out with 
that old wall there?” 

“We can’t, Splinter,” said Sere- 
na. “Not with the fence there.” 

They walked on down the hill. 
Splinter’s hand trailing along the 
wall. 

“Maybe they’re mean,” he said 
finally. “Maybe they’re so bad that 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

the ’struction Corp had to build a 
cage for them — a big, big cage!” 
He stretched his arm as high as he 
could reach, up the wall. “Do you 
suppose they got tails?” 

“Tails?” laughed Serena. “What- 
ever gave you that idea?” 

“I dunno. They came from a 
long ways away. I’d like a tail — a 
long, curly one with fur on!” He 
swished his miniature behind ener- 
getically. 

“Whatever for?” asked Serena. 

“It’d come in handy,” said Splin- 
ter solemnly. “For climbing and — 
and keeping my neck warm!” 

“Why aren’t there any other 
kids here?” he asked as they 
reached the bottom of the slope. 
“I’d like somebody to play with.” 

“Well, Splinter, it’s kind of hard 
to explain,” started Serena, sinking 
down on the narrow ledge shelving 
on the tiny dry water course at her 
feet. 

“Don’t esplain then,” said 
Splinter. “Just tell me.” 

“Well, some Linjeni generals 
came in the big black ships to talk 
with General Worsham and some 
more of our generals. They brought 
their families with them in the fat, 
pretty ships. So our generals 
brought their families, too, but 
your daddy is the only one of our 
generals who has a little child. All 
the others are grown up. That’s 
why there’s no one for you to play 
with.” I wish it were as simple as it 
sounds, thought Serena, suddenly 
weary again with the weeks of ne- 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


59 


gotiadon and waiting that had 
passed. 

''Oh/' said Splinter, thought- 
fully. "Then there are kids on the 
other side of the wall, aren’t there?” 

"Yes, there must be young Lin- 
jeni,” said Serena. "I guess you 
could call them children.” 

Splinter slid down to the bot- 
tom of the little water course and 
flopped down on his stomach. He 
pressed his cheek to the sand and 
peered through a tiny gap left un- 
der the fence where it crossed the 
stream bed. "I can't see anybody,” 
he said, disappointed. 

They started back up the hill to- 
ward their quarters, walking si- 
lently, Splinter’s hand whispering 
along the wall. 

"Mommie?” Splinter said as they 
neared the patio. 

"Yes, Splinter?” 

"That fence is to keep them in, 
isn’t it?” 

"Yes,” said Serena. 

"It doesn’t feel like that to me,” 
said Splinter. "It feels like it’s to 
shut me out.” 

Serena suffered through the next 
days with Thorn. She lay wide- 
eyed beside him in the darkness of 
their bedroom, praying as he slept 
restlessly, struggling even in his 
sleep — groping for a way. 

Tight-lipped, she cleared away 
untouched meals and brewed more 
coffee. Her thoughts went hopeful- 
ly with him every time he started 
out with new hope and resolution, 


and her spirits flagged and fell as 
he brought back dead-end, stale- 
mate and growing despair. And in 
between times, she tried to keep 
Splinter on as even a keel as pos- 
sible, giving him the freedom of 
the Quarters Area during the long, 
sun-lit days and playing with him 
as much as possible in the eve- 
nings. 

One evening Serena was pin- 
ning up her hair and keeping half 
an eye on Splinter as he splashed 
in his bath. He was gathering up 
handsful of foaming soap bubbles 
and pressing them to his chin and 
cheeks. 

"Now I hafta shave like Daddy,” 
he hummed to himself. "Shave, 
shave, shave!” He flicked the suds 
off with his forefinger. Then he 
scooped up a big double handful 
of bubbles and pressed them all 
over his face. "Now I’m Doovie. 
I’m all over fuzzy like Doovie. 
Lookit, Momie, I’m all over — ” He 
opened his eyes and peered through 
the suds to see if she was watching. 
Consequently, Serena spent a busy 
next few minutes helping him get 
the soap out of his eyes. When the 
tears had finally washed away the 
trouble, Serena sat toweling Splin- 
ter’s relaxed little body. 

"I bet Doovie’d cry too, if he got 
soap in his eyes,” he said with a 
sniff. "Wouldn’t he, Mommie?” 

"Doovie?” said Serena, "Proba- 
bly. Almost any one would. Who’s 
Doovie?” 

She felt Splinter stiffen on her 



60 

lap. His eyes wandered away from 
hers. ‘‘Mommie, do you think Dad- 
dy will play with me a-morrow?" 

‘Terhaps.'’ She captured one of 
his wet feet. “Who's Doovie?" 

“Can we have pink cake for des- 
sert tonight? I think I like pink — " 

“Who's Doovie?" Serena's voice 
was firm. Splinter examined his 
thumbnail critically, then peered 
up at Serena out of the corner of 
his eye. 

“Doovie," he began. “Doovie's a 
little boy." 

“Oh?" said Serena. “A playlike 
little boy?" 

“No," Splinter whispered, hang- 
ing his head. "A real little boy. A 
Linjeni little boy." Serena drew an 
astonished breath and Splinter 
hurried on, his eyes intent on hers. 
“He's nice people, Mommie, hon- 
est! He doesn't say bad words or 
tell lies or talk sassy to his mother. 
He can run'as fast as I can — faster, 
if I stumble. He — he — ," his eyes 
dropped again. “I like him — " His 
mouth quivered. 

“Where did — how could — I 
mean, the fence — " Serena was 
horrified and completely at a loss 
for words. 

“I dug a hole," confessed Splin- 
ter. “Under the fence where the 
sand is. You didn't say not to! Doo- 
vie came to play. His Mommie 
came, too. She's pretty. Her fur is 
pink, but Doovie's is nice and 
green. All over!" Splinter got ex- 
cited. “All over, even where his 
clothes are! All but his nose and 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

eyes and ears and the front of his 
hands!" 

“But Splinter, how could you! 
You might have got hurt! They 
might have — " Serena hugged him 
tight to hide her face from him. 

Splinter squirmed out of her 
arms. “Doovie wouldn't hurt any- 
one. You know what, Mommie! 
He can shut his nose! Yes, he can! 
He can shut his nose and fold up 
his ears! I wish I could. It'd come 
in handy. But I'm bigger'n he is 
and I can sing and he can't. But he 
can whistle with his nose and 
when I try, I just blow mine. 
Doovie's nice!" 

Serena's mind was churning as 
she helped Splinter get into his 
night clothes. She felt the chill of 
fear ajong her forearms and the 
back of her neck. What to do now? 
Forbid Splinter's crawling under 
the fence? Keep him from possible 
danger that might just be biding its 
time? What would Thorn say? 
Should she tell him? This might 
precipitate an incident that — 

“Splinter, how many times have 
you played with Doovie?" 

“How many?" Splinter's chest 
swelled under his clean pajamas. 
“Let me count," he said important- 
ly and murmured and mumbled 
over his fingers for a minute. 
“Four times!" he proclaimed tri- 
umphantly. “One, two, three, four 
whole times!" 

“Weren't you scared?" 

“Naw!" he said, adding hastily, 
“Well, maybe a little bit the first 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


61 


time. I thought maybe they might 
have tails that liked to curl around 
people’s necks. But they haven’t/’ 
disappointed, ‘‘Only clothes on like 
us with fur on under.” 

‘‘Did you say you saw Doovie’s 
mother, too?” 

“Sure,” said Splinter. ‘‘She was 
there the first day. She was the one 
that sent all the others away when 
they all crowded around me. All 
grown-ups. Not any kids excepting 
Doovie. They kinda pushed and 
wanted to touch me, but she told 
them to go away, and they all did 
’cepting her and Doovie.” 

“Oh Splinter!” cried Serena, 
overcome by the vision of his small 
self surrounded by pushing, crowd- 
ing Linjeni grown-ups who wanted 
to ‘touch him’. 

“What’s the matter, Mommie?” 
asked Splinter. 

“Nothing, dear.” She wet her 
lips. “May I go along with you the 
next time you go to see Doovie? I’d 
like to meet his mother.” 

“Sure, sure!” cried Splinter. 
‘‘Let’s go now. Let’s go now!” 

“Not now,” said Serena, feeling 
the reaction of her fear in her 
knees and ankles. “It’s too late. 
Tomorrow we’ll go see them. And 
Splinter, let’s not tell Daddy yet. 
Let’s keep it a surprise for a while.^’ 

“Okay, Mommie,” said Splinter. 
“It’s a good surprise, isn’t it? You 
were awful surprised, weren’t you?” 

“Yes, I was,” said Serena. “Aw- 
ful surprised.” 


Next day Splinter squatted 
down and inspected the hole under 
the fence. “It’s kinda little,” he 
said. “Maybe you’ll get stuck.” 

Serena, her heart pounding in 
her throat, laughed. “That would- 
n’t be very dignified would it?” she 
asked. “To go calling and get stuck 
in the door.” 

Splinter laughed. “It’d be fun- 
ny,” he said. “Maybe we better go 
find a really door for you.” 

“Oh, no,” said Serena hastily. 
“We can make this one bigger.” 

“Sure,” said Splinter. “I’ll go get 
Doovie and he can help dig.” 

“Fine,” said Serena, her throat 
tightening. Afraid of a child, she 
mocked herself. Afraid of a Linjeni 
— aggressor — invader, she defend- 
ed. 

Splinter flattened on the sand 
and slid under the fence. “You start 
digging,” he called. “I’ll be back!” 

Serena knelt to the job, the loose 
sand coming away readily to her 
scooping hands, so readily that she 
circled her arms and dredged with 
them. 

Then she heard Splinter scream. 

For a brief second, she was par- 
alyzed. Then he screamed again, 
closer, and Serena dragged the 
sand away in a frantic frenzy. She 
felt the sand scoop down the neck 
of her blouse and the skin scrape 
off her spine as she forced herself 
under the fence. 

Then there was Splinter, cata- 
pulting out of the shrubbery, sob- 
bing and screaming, “Doovie! Doo- 



62 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


vie’s drownding! He's in the go’fish 
pond! All under the water! I can't 
get him out! Mommie, Mommie!" 

Serena grabbed his hand as she 
shot past and towed him along, 
stumbling and dragging, as she ran 
for the gold fish pond. She leaned 
across the low wall and caught a 
glimpse, under the churning 
thrash of the water, of green mossy 
fur and staring eyes. With hardly 
a pause except to shove Splinter 
backward and start a deep breath, 
she plunged over into the pond. 
She felt the burning bite of water 
up her nostrils and grappled in the 
murky darkness for Doovie — feel- 
ing again and again the thrash of 
small limbs that slipped away be- 
fore she could grasp them. 

Then she was choking and 
sputtering on the edge of the pond, 
pushing the still struggling Doovie 
up and over. Splinter grabbed him 
and pulled as Serena heaved her- 
self over the edge of the pond and 
fell sprawling across Doovie. 

Then she heard another higher, 
shriller scream and was shoved off 
Doovie viciously and Doovie was 
snatched up into rose pink arms. 
Serena pushed her lank, dripping 
hair out of her eyes and met the 
hostile glare of the rose pink eyes 
of Doovie's mother. 

Serena edged over to Splinter 
and held him close, her eyes in- 
tent on the Linjeni. The pink 
mother felt the green child all over 
anxiously and Serena noticed with 
an odd detachment that Splinter 


hadn't mentioned that Doovie’s 
eyes matched his fur and that he 
had webbed feet. 

Webbed feet! She began to 
laugh, almost hysterically. Oh, 
Lordy! No wonder Doovie's mother 
was so alarmed. 

''Can you talk to Doovie?" asked 
Serena of the sobbing Splinter. 

"No!" wailed Splinter. "You 
don’t have to talk to play." 

"Stop crying. Splinter," said 
Serena. "Help me think. Doovie’s 
mother thinks we were trying to 
hurt Doovie. He wouldn’t drown in 
the water. Remember, he can close 
his nose and fold up his ears. 
How are we going to tell his mother 
we weren’t trying to hurt him?" 

"Well," Splinter scrubbed his 
cheeks with the back of his hand. 
"We could hug him — " 

"That wouldn’t do. Splinter," 
said Serena, noticing with near 
panic that other brightly colored 
figures were moving among the 
shrubs, drawing closer — "I’m 
afraid she won’t let us touch him.*’ 

Briefly she toyed with the idea of 
turning and trying to get back to 
the fence, then she took a deep 
breath and tried to calm down. 

"Let’s play-like. Splinter," she 
said. "Let’s show Doovie’s mother 
that we thought he was drowning. 
You go fall in the pond and I’ll 
pull you out. You play-like 
drowned and I’ll — I’ll cry." 

"Gee, Mommie, you’re crying al- 
ready!" said Splinter, his face puck- 
ering. 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


63 


'Tm just practicing,” she said, 
steadying her voice. '‘Go on.” 

Splinter hesitated on the edge of 
the pond, shrinking away from the 
water that had fascinated him so 
many times before. Serena 
screamed suddenly, and Splinter, 
startled, lost his balance and fell 
in. Serena had hold of him almost 
before he went under water and 
pulled him out, cramming all of 
the fear and apprehension into her 
voice and actions as she could. “Be 
dead,” she whispered fiercely. “Be 
dead all over!” And Splinter melt- 
ed so completely in her arms that 
her moans and cries of sorrow were 
only partly make-believe. She bent 
over his still form and rocked to 
and fro in her grief. 

A hand touched her arm and 
she looked up into the bright eyes 
of the Linjeni. The look held for 
a long moment and then the Lin- 
jeni smiled, showing even white 
teeth, and a pink, furry hand pat- 
ted Splinter on the shoulder. His 
eyes flew open and he sat up. 
Doovie peered around from behind 
his mother and then he and Splin- 
ter were rolling and tumbling to- 
gether, wrestling happily between 
the two hesitant mothers. Serena 
found a shaky laugh somewhere in 
among her alarms and Doovies 
mother whistled softly with her 
nose. 

That night, Thom cried out in 
his sleep and woke Serena. She lay 
in the darkness, her constant pray- 


er moving like a candle flame in 
her mind. She crept out of bed 
and checked Splinter in his shad- 
owy room. Then she knelt and 
opened the bottom drawer of Splin- 
ter s chest-robe. She ran her hand 
over the gleaming folds of the 
length of Linjeni material that lay 
there — the material the Linjeni 
had found to wrap her in while 
her clothes dried. She had given 
them her lacy slip in exchange. Her 
fingers read the raised pattern in 
the dark, remembering how beauti- 
ful it was in the afternoon sun. 
Then the sun was gone and she 
saw a black ship destroyed, a 
home craft plunging to incandes- 
cent death and the pink and green 
and yellow and all the other bright 
furs charring and crisping and the 
patterned materials curling before 
the last flare of flame. She leaned 
her head on her hand and shud- 
dered. 

But then she saw the glitter of a 
silver ship,. blackening and fusing, 
dripping monstrously against the 
emptiness of space. And heard the 
wail of a fatherless Splinter so 
vividly that she shoved the drawer 
in hastily and went back to look at 
his quiet sleeping face and to tuck 
him unnecessarily in. 

When she came back to bed, 
Thorn was awake, lying on his 
back, his elbows winging out. 

“Awake?” she asked as she sat 
down on the edge of the bed. 

‘Tes.” His voice was tense as the 
twang of a wire. “We*re getting no- 



64 

where/' he said. “Both sides keep 
holding up neat little hoops of 
ideas, but no one is jumping 
through, either way. We want 
peaee, but we ean’t seem to convey 
anything to them. They want 
something, but they haven’t said 
what, as though to tell us would 
betray them irrevocably into our 
hands, but they won’t make peace 
unless they can get it. Where do 
w'e go from here?” 

“If they’d just go away — ” Rena 
swung her feet up onto the bed and 
clasped her slender ankles with 
both hands. 

“That’s one thing we’ve estab- 
lished.” Thorn’s voice was bitter, 
“They wont go. They’re here to 
stay — like it or not.” 

“Thorn — ” Rena spoke impul- 
sively into the shadowy silence, 
“Why don’t we just make them 
welcome? Why can’t we just say, 
’Come on in!’ They’re travelers 
from afar. Can’t we be hospitable 

if 

“You talk as though the afar was 
just the next county — or state!” 
Thorn tossed impatiently on the 
pillow. 

“Don’t tell me were back to that 
old equation — Stranger equals En- 
emy,” said Rena, her voice sharp 
with strain. “Can’t we assume 
they’re friendly? Go visit with 
them — talk with them casually — ” 

“Friendly!” Thorn shot upright 
from the tangled bedclothes. “Go 
visit! Talk!” His voice choked off. 
Then dangerously calmly he went 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

on. “Would you care to visit with 
the widows of our men who went 
to visit the friendly Linjeni? Whose 
ships dripped out of the sky with- 
out warning — ” 

“Theirs did, too.” Rena’s voice 
was small but stubborn. “With no 
more warning than we had. Who 
shot first? You must admit no one 
knows for sure.” 

There was a tense silence then 
Thorn lay down slow ly, turned his 
back to Serena and spoke no more. 

“Now I can’t ever tell,” mourned 
Serena into her crumpled pillow. 
“He’d die if he knew about the hole 
under the fence.” 

In the days that followed, Sere- 
na went every afternoon with 
Splinter and the hole under the 
fence got larger and larger. 

Doovie’s mother, whom Splinter 
called Mrs. Pink, was teaching 
Serena to embroider the rich ma- 
terials like the length they had 
given her. In exchange, Serena was 
teaching Mrs. Pink how to knit. 
At least, she started to teach her. 
She got as far as purl and knit, de- 
crease and increase, when Mrs. 
Pink took the work from her, and 
Serena sat wide-mouthed at the in- 
credible speed and accuracy of 
Mrs. Pink's furry fingers. She felt a 
little silly for having assumed that 
the Linjeni didn’t know about 
knitting. And yet, the other Lin- 
jeni crowded around and felt of the 
knitting and exclaimed over it in 
their soft, fluty voices as though 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


65 


they'd never seen any before. The 
little ball of wool Serena had 
brought was soon used up, but 
Mrs. Pink brought out hanks of 
heavy thread such as were split 
and used in their embroidery, and, 
after a glance through Serena's 
pattern book, settled down to knit- 
ting the shining brilliance of Lin- 
jeni thread. 

Before long, smiles and gestures, 
laughter and whistling, were not 
enough. Serena sought out the 
available tapes — a scant handful 
— on Linjeni speech and learned 
them. They didn't help much since 
the vocabulary wasn't easily ap- 
plied to the matters she wanted to 
discuss with Mrs. Pink and the 
others. But the day she voiced and 
whistled her first Linjeni sentence 
to Mrs. Pink, Mrs. Pink stumbled 
through hrfr first English sentence. 
They laughed and whistled togeth- 
er and settled down to pointing 
and naming and guessing across 
areas of incommunication. 

Serena felt guilty by the end of 
the week. She and Splinter were 
having so much fun and Thorn was 
wearier and wearier at each ses- 
sion's end. 

“They're impossible," he said 
bitterly, one night, crouched for- 
ward tensely on the front edge of 
his easy chair. “We can't pin them 
down to anything.” 

“What do they want?" asked 
Serena. “Haven't they said yet?" 

“1 shouldn't talk — " Thorn sank 
back in his chair. “Oh what does it 


matter?" he asked wearily. “It'll all 
come to nothing anyway!" 

“Oh, no. Thorn!" cried Serena. 
“They're reasonable human — " she 
broke oflE at Thorn's surprised look. 
“Aren't they?" she stammered, 
“Aren't they?" 

“Human? They're uncommuni- 
cative, hostile aliens," he said. “We 
talk ourselves blue in the face and 
they whistle at one another and 
say yes or no. Just that, flatly." 

“Do they understand — " began 
Serena. 

“We have interpreters, such as 
they are. None too good, but «all 
we have." 

“Well, what are they asking?" 
asked Serena. 

Thorn laughed shortly. “So far 
as we’ve been able to ascertain, 
they just want all our oceans and 
the land contiguous thereto." 

“Oh, Thorn, they couldn't be 
that unreasonable!” 

“Well I'll admit we aren't even 
sure that's what they mean, but 
they keep coming back to the sub- 
ject of the oceans, except they 
whistle rejection when we ask 
them point-blank if it's the oceans 
they want. There’s just no commu- 
nication." Thorn sighed heavily. 
“You don’t know them like we do, 
Rena." 

“No," said Serena miserably. 
“Not like you do." 

She took her disquiet. Splinter, 
and a picnic basket down the hill to 
the hole next day. Mrs. Pink had 



66 

shared her lunch with them the 
day before, and now it was Se- 
rena s turn. They sat on the grass 
together, Serena crowding back 
her unhappiness to laugh at Mrs. 
Pink and her first olive with the 
same friendly amusement Mrs. 
Pink had shown when Serena had 
bit down on her first pinvit and 
had been afraid to swallow it and 
ashamed to spit it out. 

Splinter and Doovie were agree- 
ing over a thick meringued lemon 
pie that was supposed to be desert. 

“Leave the pie alone, Splinter,” 
said Serena. “It s to top-off on.” 

“We’re only tasting the fluffy 
stuff,” said Splinter, a blob of 
meringue on his upper lip bobbing 
as he spoke. 

“Well, save your testing for la- 
ter. Why don’t you get out the eggs. 
Pll bet Doovie isn’t familiar with 
them either.” 

Splinter rummaged in the basket 
and Serena took out the huge camp 
salt shaker. 

“Here they are, Mommie!” cried 
Splinter. “Lookit, Doovie, first you 
have to crack the shell — ” 

Serena began initiating Mrs. 
Pink into the mysteries of hard- 
boiled eggs and it was all very cas- 
ual and matter of fact until she 
sprinkled the peeled egg with salt. 
Mrs. Pink held out her cupped 
hand and Serena sprinkled a little 
salt into it. Mrs. Pink tasted it. 

She gave a low whistle of aston- 
ishment .and tasted again. Then 
she reached tentatively for the 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

shaker. Serena gave it to her, 
amused. Mrs. Pink shook more into 
her hand and peered through the 
holes in the cap of the shaker. Se- 
rena unscrewed the top and 
showed Mrs. Pink the salt inside 
it. 

For a long minute Mrs. Pink 
stared at the white granules and 
then she whistled urgently, pierc- 
ingly. Serena shrank back, bewil- 
dered, as every bush seemed to er- 
rupt Linjeni. They crowded around 
Mrs. Pink, staring into the shaker, 
jostling one another, whistling 
sofdy. One scurried away and 
brought back a tall jug of water. 
Mrs. Pink slowly and carefully 
emptied the salt from her hand 
into the water and then up-ended 
the shaker. She stirred the water 
with a branch someone snatched 
from a bush. After the salt was dis- 
solved, all the Linjeni around 
them lined up with cupped hands. 
Each received — as though it were 
a sacrament — a handful of salt 
water. And they all, quickly, not to 
lose a drop, lifted the handful of 
water to their faces and inhaled, 
breathing deeply, deeply of the 
salty solution. 

Mrs. Pink was last, and, as she 
raised her wet face from her 
cupped hands, the gratitude in her 
eyes almost made Serena cry. And 
the dozens of Linjeni crowded 
around, each eager to press a soft 
forefinger to Serena’s cheek, a 
thank-you gesture Splinter was 
picking up already. 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


67 


When the crowd melted into the 
shadows again, Mrs. Pink sat 
down, fondling the salt shaker. 

“Salt,” said Serena, indicating 
the shaker. 

''Shreeprill,” said Mrs. Pink. 

'Shreeprill?” said Serena, her 
stumbling tongue robbing the word 
of its liquidness. Mrs. Pink nodded. 

'"Slireeprill good?” asked Serena, 
groping for an explanation for the 
just finished scene. 

”Shreeprill good,” said Mrs. 
Pink. “No shreeprill, no Linjeni ba- 
by. Doovie — Doovie — ” she hesi- 
tated, groping. “One Doovie — no 
baby.” She shook her head, unable 
to bridge the gap. 

Serena groped after an idea she 
had almost caught from Mrs. Pink. 
She pulled up a handful of grass. 
“Grass,” she said. She pulled an- 
other handful. “More grass. More. 
More.” She added to the pile. 

Mrs. Pink looked from the grass 
to Serena. 

“No more Linjeni baby. Doovie 
— ” She separated the grass into 
piles. “Baby, baby, baby — ” she 
counted down to the last one, lin- 
gering tenderly over it. “Doovie.” 

“Oh,” said Serena, “Doovie is 
tlie last Linjeni baby? No more?” 

Mrs. Pink studied the words and 
then she nodded. '"Yes, yes! No 
more. No shreeprill, no baby.” 

Serena felt a flutter of wonder. 
Maybe — maybe this is what the 
war was over. Maybe they just 
wanted salt. A world to them. 
Maybe — 


"Salt, shreeprill/* she said. 
“More, more, more shreeprill, Lin- 
jeni go home?” 

“More more more shreeprill, 
yes,” said Mrs. Pink. “Go home, no. 
No home. Home no good. No wa- 
ter, no shreeprill/* 

“Oh,” said Serena. Then 
thoughtfully, “More Linjeni? More 
more, more?” 

Mrs. Pink looked at Serena and 
in the sudden silence the realiza- 
tion that they were, after all, 
members of enemy camps flared 
between them. Serena tried to 
smile. Mrs. Pink looked over at 
Splinter and Doovie who were 
happily sampling everything in the 
picnic basket. Mrs. Pink relaxed, 
and then she said, 

“No more Linjeni.” She gestured 
toward the crowded landing field. 
“Linjeni.” She pressed her hands, 
palm to palm, her shoulders sag- 
ging. “No more Linjeni.” 

Serena sat dazed, thinking what 
this would mean to Earth’s High 
Command. No more Linjeni of the 
terrible, devastating weapons. No 
more than those that had landed — 
no waiting alien world ready to 
send reinforcements when these 
ships were gone. When these were 
gone — no more Linjeni. All that 
Earth had to do now was wipe out 
these ships, taking the heavy losses 
that would be inevitable, and they 
would win the war — and wipe out 
a race. 

The Linjeni must have come 
seeking asylum — or demanding it. 



68 

Neighbors who were afraid to ask 
— or hadn’t been given time to ask. 
How had the war started? Who 
fired upon whom? Did anyone 
know? 

Serena took uncertainty home 
with her, along with the empty pic- 
nic basket. Tell, tell, tell, whis- 
pered her feet through the grass up 
the hill. Tell and the war will end. 
But how? she cried out to herself. 
By wiping them out or giving them 
a home? Which? Which? 

Kill, kill, kill grated her feet 
across the graveled patio edge. 
Kill the aliens — no common 
ground — not human — all our hal- 
lowed dead. 

But what about their hallowed 
dead? All falling, the flaming 
ships — the home-seekers — the dis- 
possessed — the childless? 

Serena settled Splinter with a 
new puzzle and a picture book and 
went into the bedroom. She sat on 
the bed and stared at herself in the 
mirror. 

But give them salt water and 
they’ll increase — all our oceans, 
even if they said they were no 
good. Increase and increase and 
take the world — push us out — 
trespass — oppress — 

But their men — our men. 
They’ve been meeting for over a 
week and can’t agree. Of course 
they can’t! They’re afraid of be- 
traying themselves to each other. 
Neither knows anything about the 
other, really. They aren’t trying to 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

find out anything really important. 
I’H bet not one of our men know 
the Linjeni can close their noses 
and fold their ears. And not one of 
the Linjeni knows we sprinkle their 
life on our food. 

Serena had no idea how long she 
sat there, but Splinter finally found 
her and insisted on supper and 
then Serena insisted on bed for 
him. 

She was narly mad with inde- 
cision when ITiorn finally got 
home. 

‘’Well,” he said, dropping wear- 
ily into his chair. “It’s almost over.” 

“Over!” cried Serena, hope flar- 
ing, “Then you’ve reached — 

“Stalemate, impasse,” said 
Thorn heavily. “Our meeting to- 
morrow is the last. One final ‘no’ 
from each side and it’s over. Back 
to blood-letting.” 

“Oh, Thorn, no!” Serena pressed 
her clenched fist to her mouth. 
“We can’t kill any more of them! 
It’s inhuman — it’s — ” 

“It’s self-defense,” Thom’s voice 
was sharp with exasperated dis- 
pleasure. “Please, not tonight, 
Rena. Spare me your idealistic 
ideas. Heaven knows we’re inex- 
perienced enough in war-like nego- 
tiations without having to cope 
with suggestions that we make cute 
pets out of our enemies. We’re in 
a war and we’ve got it to win. Let 
the Linjeni get a wedge in and 
they’ll swarm the Earth like flies!” 

“No, no!” whispered Serena, 
her own secret fears sending the 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


^9 


tears flooding down her face. 
“They wouldn’t! They wouldn’t! 
Would they?” 

Long after Thorn’s sleeping 
breath whispered in the darkness 
beside her, she lay awake, staring 
at the invisible ceiling. Carefully 
she put the words up before her on 
the slate of the darkness. 

Tell — the war will end. 

Either we will help the Linjeni 
— or wipe them out. 

Don’t tell. The conference will 
break up. The war will go on. 

We will have heavy losses — and 
wipe the Linjeni out. 

Mrs. Pink trusted me. 

Splinter loves Doovie. Doovie 
loves him. 

Then the little candle-flame of 
prayer that had so nearly burned 
out in her torment, flared brightly 
again and she slept. 

Next morning she sent Splinter 
to play with Doovie. ‘Tlay by the 
gold-fish pond,” she said. “I’ll be 
along soon.” 

“Okay, Mommie,” said Splinter. 
“Will you bring some cake?” slyly, 
“Doovie isn’t a-miliar with cake.” 

Serena laughed. “A certain little 
Splinter is a-miliar with cake, 
though! You run along, greedy!” 
And she boosted him out of the 
door with a slap on the rear. 

“ ’Bye, Mommie,” he called 
back. 

“’Bye, dear. Be good.** 

“I will.” 


Serena watched until he disap- 
peared down the slope of the hiU, 
then she smoothed her hair and 
ran her tongue over her lips. She 
started for the bedroom, but turned 
suddenly and went to the front 
door. If she had to face even her 
own eyes, her resolution would 
waver and dissolve. She stood, 
hand on knob, watching the clock 
inch around until an interminable 
fifteen minutes had passed — Splin- 
ter safely gone — then she snatched 
the door open and left. 

Her smile took her out of the 
Quarters’ Area to the Administra- 
tion Building. Her brisk assump- 
tion of authority and destination 
took her to the conference wing 
and there her courage failed her. 
She lurked out of sight of the 
guards, almost wringing her hands 
in indecision. Then she straight- 
ened the set of her skirt, smoothed 
her hair, dredged a "smile up from 
some hidden source of strength 
and tiptoed out into the hall. 

She felt like a butterfly pinned 
to the wall by the instant unwink- 
ing attention of the guards. She 
gestured silence witli a finger to her 
lips and tiptoed up to them. 

“Hello, Turner. Hi, Franiveri,” 
she whispered. 

The two exchanged looks and 
Turner said hoarsely, “You aren’t 
supposed to be here. Ma’am. Better 
go-" 

“I know I’m not,” she said, look- 
ing guilty — with no effort at all. 
“But, Turner, I — I just want to see 



70 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


a Linjeni/^ She hurried on before 
Turner's open mouth could form a 
word. *‘Oh, IVe seen pictures of 
them, but Fd like awfully to sec a 
real one. Can't I have even one 
little peak?" She slipped closer to 
the door. ‘"Look!" she cried softly, 
'It's even ajar a little already!" 

"Supposed to be," rasped Ti»- 
ner. "Orders. But Ma’am, we can't 

a 

"Just one peek?" she pleaded, 
putting her thumb in the crack of 
the door. "I won’t make a sound." 

She coaxed the door open a little 
farther, her hand creeping inside, 
fumbling for the knob, the little 
button. 

"But, Ma’am, you couldn't see 
’em from here anyway." 

Quicker than thought, Serena 
jerked the door q>en and darted in, 
pushing the little button and slam* 
ming the door to with what seemed 
to her a thunder that vibrated 
through the whole building. 
Breathlessly, afraid to think, she 
sped through the ante room and 
into the conference room. She 
came to a scared skidding stop, her 
hands tight on the back of a chair, 
every eye in the room on her. 
Thorn, almost unrecognizable in 
his armor of authority and sever- 
ity, stood up abruptly. 

"Serena!" he said, his voice 
cracking with incredulity. Then he 
sat down again, hastily. 

Serena circled the table, refus- 
ing to meet the eyes that bored into 
her — blue yes, brown yes, black 


eyes, yellow eyes, green eyes, laven- 
der eyes. She turned at the foot of 
the table and looked fearfully up 
the shining expanse. 

"Gentlemen," her voice was al- 
most inaudible. She cleared her 
throat. "Gentlemen." She saw Gen- 
eral Worsham getting ready to 
speak — his face harshly unfamiliar 
with the weight of his position. 
She pressed her hands to the pol- 
ished table and leaned forward has- 
tily. 

"You’re going to quit, aren't 
you? You’re giving up!" The trans- 
lators bent to their mikes and their 
lips moved to hers. "What have 
you been talking about all this 
time? Guns? Battles? Casualty 
lists? We’ll-do-this-to-you-if-you-do 
that-to-us? I don’t know!" she 
cried, shaking her head tightly, al- 
most shuddering. "I don’t know 
what goes on at high level confer- 
ence tables. All I know is that I’ve 
been teaching Mrs. Pink to knit, 
and how to cut a lemon pie — ” 
She could see the bewildered inter- 
preters thumbing their manuals. 
"And already I know why they're 
here and what they want!" Pursing 
her lips, she half-whistled, half- 
trilled in her halting Linjeni, 
"Doovie baby. No more Linjeni 
babies!" 

One of the Linjeni started at 
Doovie’s name and stood up slow- 
ly, his lavender bulk towering over 
the table. Serena saw the interpre- 
ters thumbing frantically again. 
She knew they were looking for a 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


71 


translation of the Linjeni Tjaby*. 
Babies had no place in a mibtary 
conference. 

The Linjeni spoke slowly, but 
Serena shook her head. “I don't 
know enough Linjeni." 

There was a whisper at her 
shoulder. “What do you know of 
Doovie?" And a pair of earphones 
were pushed into her hands. She 
adjusted them with trembling fin- 
gers. Why were they letting her 
talk? Why was General Worsham 
sitting there letting her break into 
the conference like this? 

“I know Doovie," she said’ 
breathlessly. “I know Doovies 
mother, too. Doovie plays with 
Splinter, my son — my little son." 
She twisted her fingers, dropping 
her head at the murmur that arose 
around the table. The Linjeni 
spoke again and the earphones 
murmured metalicly. “What is the 
color of Doovie’s mother?" 

“Pink," said Serena. 

Again the scurry for a word — 
pink — pink. Finally Serena turned 
up the hem of her skirt and dis- 
played the hem of her slip — rose- 
pink. The Linjeni sat down again, 
nodding. 

“Serena," General Worsham 
spoke as quietly as though it were 
just another lounging evening in 
the patio. “What do you want?" 

Serena's eyes wavered and then 
her chin lifted. 

“Thorn said today would be the 
last day. That it was to be ‘no' on 
both sides. That we and the Lin- 


jeni have no common meeting 
ground, no basis for agreement on 
anything." 

“And you think we have?" Gen- 
eral Worsham's voice cut gently 
through the stir at the naked state- 
ment of thoughts and attitudes so 
carefully concealed. 

“I know we do. Our alikenesses 
out-weigh our differences so far 
that it's just foolish to sit here all 
this time, shaking our differences 
at each other and not finding out a 
thing about our hkenesscs. We are 
fundamentally the same — the same 
— " she faltered. “Under God we 
are all the same." And she knew 
widi certainty that tlie translators 
wouldn't find God’s name in their 
books. “I think we ought to let 
them eat our salt and bread and 
make them welcome!" She half 
smiled and said, “The word for salt 
is shreeprill” 

There was a smothered rush of 
whistling from the Linjeni, and 
the lavender Linjeni half arose 
from his chair and subsided. 

General Worsham glanced at 
the Linjeni speculatively and 
pursed his lips, “But there are 
ramifications — " he began. 

“Ramifications!" spat Serena. 
“There are no ramifications that 
can't resolve themselves if two peo- 
ples really know each other!” 

She glanced around the table, 
noting with sharp relief that 
Thorn’s face had softened. 

“Come with me!” she urged. 
“Come and see Doovie and Splin- 



72 

ter together — Linjeni young and 
ours, who haven’t learned suspi- 
cion and fear and hate and preju- 
dice yet Declare a — a — recess or 
a truce or whatever is necessary 
and come with me. After you see 
the children and see Mrs. Pink 
knitting and we talk this matter 
over like members of a family — 
Well, if you still think you have to 
fight after that, then — ” she spread 
her hands. 

Her knees shook so as they 
started downhill that Thorn had to 
help her walk. 

“Oh, Thorn,” she whispered, al- 
most sobbing. “I didn’t think they 
would. I thought they’d shoot me 
or lock me up or — ” 

“We don’t want war. I told you 
that,” he murmured. “We’re ready 
to grab at straws, even in the guise 
of snippy females who barge in on 
solemn councils and display their 
slips!” Then his lips tightened. 
“How long has this been going on?” 

“For Splinter, a couple of weeks. 
For me, a little more than a week.” 

‘Why didn’t you tell me?” 

“I tried — twice. You wouldn’t 
listen. I was too scared to insist. 
Besides, you know what your reac- 
tion would have been.” 

Thorn had no words until they 
neared the foot of the hill, then he 
said, “How come you know so 
much? What makes you think you 
can solve — ” 

Serena choked back a hysterical 
laugh. “I took eggs to a picnic!” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

And then they were standing, 
looking down at the hole under the 
fence. 

“Splinter found the way,” Se- 
rena defended. “I made it bigger, 
but you’ll have to get down — flat.” 

She dropped to the sand and 
wiggled under. She crouched on 
the other side, her knees against 
her chest, her clasped hands 
pressed against her mouth, and 
waited. There was a long minute 
of silence and then a creak and a 
grunt and Serena bit her lips as 
General Worsham inched under 
the fence, flat on the sand, catch- 
ing and jerking free half way 
through. But her amusement 
changed to admiration as she real- 
ized that even covered with dust, 
scrambling awkwardly to his feet 
and beating his rumpled clothing, 
he possessed dignity and strength 
that made her deeply thankful that 
he was the voice of Earth in this 
time of crisis. 

One by one the others crawled 
under, the Linjeni sandwiched be- 
tween the other men and Thom 
bringing up the rear. Motioning 
silence, she led them to the thicket 
of bushes that screened one side of 
the goldfish pond. 

Doovie and Splinter were lean- 
ing over the edge of the pond. 

“There it is!” cried Splinter, 
leaning perilously and pointing. 
“Way dovm there qn the bottom 
and it’s my best marble. Would 
your Mommie care if vou got it for 
me?” 



SUBCOMMITTEE 


73 


Doovie peered down. '‘Marble go 
in water.’' 

“That’s what I said,” cried 
Splinter impatiently. “And you 
can shut your nose — ” he put his 
finger to the black, glistening but- 
ton, “And fold your ears,” he 
flicked them with his forefinger 
and watched them fold. “Gee!” he 
said admiringly. “I wish I could do 
that.” 

“Doovie go in water?” asked 
Doovie. 

“Yea,” nodded Splinter. “It’s my 
good taw and you won’t even have 
to put on swimming trunks — you 
got fur.” 

Doovie shucked out of his brief 
clothing and sUd down into the 
pond. He bobbed back up, his 
hand clenched. 

“Gee, thanks.” Splinter held out 
his hand and Doovie carefully 
turned his hand over and Splinter 
closed his. Then he shrieked and 
flung his hand out. ‘Tou mean old 
thing!” yelled Splinter. “Give me 
my marble! That was a slippy old 
fish!” He leaned over, scuffling, 
trying to reach Doovie’s other 
hand. There was a slither and a 
splash and Splinter and Doovie 
disappeared under the water. 

Serena caught her breath and 
had started forward when Doovie’s 
anxious face bobbed to the surface 
again. He yanked and tugged at 
the sputtering, coughing Splinter 
and tumbled him out onto the 
grass. Doovie squatted by Splinter, 
patting his back and alternately 


whistling dolefully through his 
nose and talking apologetic sound- 
ing Linjeni. 

Sphnter coughed and dug his 
fists into his eyes. 

“Golly, golly!” he said, spatting 
his hands against his wet jersey. 
“Mommie’ll sure be mad. My clean 
clothes all wet. Where’s my mar- 
ble, Doovie?” 

Doovie scrambled to his feet 
and went back to the pond. Splin- 
ter started to follow, then he cried. 
“Oh, Doovie, where did that poor 
little fish go? It’ll die if it’s out of 
the water. My guppy did.” 

“Fish?” asked Doovie. 

“Yes,” said Splinter, holding out 
his hand as he searched the grass 
with intent eyes. “The slippy little 
fish that wasn't my marble.” 

The two youngsters scrambled 
around in the grass until Doovie 
whistled and cried out triumphant- 
ly, “Fish!” and scooped it up in his 
hands and rushed it back to the 
pond. 

“There,” said Splinter, “Now it 
won’t die. Looky, it's swimming 
away!” 

Doovie slid into the pond again 
and retrieved the lost marble. 

“Now,” said Splinter, “Watch 
me and I’ll show you how to shoot.” 

The bushes beyond the two ab- 
sorbed boys parted and Mrs. Pink 
stepped out. She smiled at the 
children and then she saw the si- 
lent group on the other side of the 
clearing. Her eyes widened and 
she gave an astonished whistle. 



74 

The two boys looked up and fol- 
lowed the direction of her eyes. 

‘'Daddy!'' yelled Splinter. “Did 
you come to play?" And he sped, 
arms outstretched, to Thorn, arriv- 
ing only a couple of steps ahead of 
Doovie who was whistling excited- 
ly and rushing to greet the tall 
lavender Linjeni. 

Serena felt'^a sudden choke of 
laughter at how alike Thorn and 
the Linjeni looked, trying to greet 
their offspring adequately and still 
retain their dignity. 

Mrs- Pink came hesitantly to the 
group to stand in the circle of Se- 
rena's arm. Splinter had swarmed 
up Thom, hugged him with thor- 
ougness and slid down again. “Hi, 
General Worsham!" he said, ex- 
tending a muddy hand in a be- 
lated remembrance of his manners. 
“Hey, Daddy, I'm showing Doovie 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

how to play marbles, but you can 
shoot better 'n I can. You come show 
him how.'^ 

“Well — " said Thorn, glancing 
uncomfortably at General Wor- 
sham. 

General Worsham was watch- 
ing the Linjeni as Doovie whistled 
and fluted over a handful of bright 
colored glassie marbles. He quirked 
an eyebrow at Thorn and then at 
the rest o£-^e group. 

“I suggest a recess," he said. “In 
order that we may examine new^ 
matters that have been brought to 
our attention." 

Serena felt herself getting all 
hoUow inside, and she turned her 
face away so Mrs. Pink wouldn't 
see her cry. But Mrs. Pink was too 
interested in the colorful marbles 
to see Serena's gathering, hopeful 
tears. ® 





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FANTASY AND 
SCIENCE FICTION 


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Old Arthur knew all about young men, that was certain. 
But who knew much about old Arthur? Not young Robert, 
brown Robert, for one. Arthur was in contact with reality, 
all right— but what kinds of reality? Terry Carrs first story 
for FirSF (Who Sups With The Devil, May, 1962) was an 
urbane variation on a classical theme of fantasy fiction. Hej^ 
he shows us a fascinating, many-faceted view of htiman 
nature, and makes a bran-new contribution to a classical 
science fiction theme. And makes us want to cry, “Look ov^l” 
to someone who can never hear us. 


RROWN ROBERT 

by Terry Carr 


Arthur Leacock shuffled 
quickly down the wooden hall of 
the small Midwestern university 
where he had worked for thirty- 
two years and eight months, give 
or take maybe a week. His sleep- 
rumpled, peppery hair stuck out 
from under the old leather cap 
which he had worn for fully seven- 
teen of those years, and his oft- 
resoled shoes were almost silent in 
the hallway, though its echoing 
properties were so good that Arthur 
had often fancied he could hear 
his own breathing whispered back 
to him from the walls. 

He turned right at the large 
waiting-room in the middle of the 
building and went up the stairs to 


the second floor two at a time, 
grasping the handrail with large- 
knuckled hands to pull himself 
along. He did not look where he 
was going, but instead rested his 
eyes unseeingly on the stairs pass- 
ing beneath him, his mouth drawn 
back into the heavy wrinkles of his 
cheeks. 

Robert Emsohn, full-voiced 
Robert with brown soul, would al- 
ready be in his oflBce, of course. 
Wavy Robert, whose brow was no- 
ble as a mannikin’s, always ar- 
rived half an hour before the time 
he set for Arthur. When Arthur 
arrived, he knew, Robert would be 
rechecking the figures he had 
pored carefully over till midnight 



76 

— not because Robert did not trust 
his own abilities, but because it 
was his policy always to double- 
check his figures. Robert, natu- 
rally, would never give in to the 
danger of overconfidence, which 
mi^t be called conceit; he always 
mMe sure that he had made no 
mistake. And then he always 
smiled. 

At the top of the stairs Arthur 
pushed through the door to the 
second-floor hall and crossed to 
Robert's office. The door creaked 
twice behind him and then rested 
shut. 

Robert Ernsohn looked up from 
his pretentiously small desk in the 
corner by the window and pushed 
the papers aside. The red-orange 
sun, slipping silently from behind 
the roof of the building across the 
courtyard, cast lines of light 
through the Venetian blinds across 
the desk. Brown-eyed, brown Rob- 
ert smiled with innocent satyriasis 
and dropped his pencil in the pen- 
cil-glass. 

“IVe checked it all four times," 
he said. “Short of going upstate to 
a computer that’s all 1 can do. I 
hope it’s right." 

Arthur watched his mouth as he 
spoke and then stepped into the 
cloakroom to hang up his overcoat. 
He found a cleaning rag and took 
it with him when he came out and 
went on across the office, five steps, 
into the laboratory. A small labora- 
tory, cluttered and dirty. The floor 
was dirty, at any rate; the equip- 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

ment was polished. But Arthur set 
to polishing it again, because this 
morning it would be used. 

There was a reclining couch in 
the midst of a cacophony of mech- 
anical and electrical complexity. 
Arthur brushed ofiE the couch, 
touching the leather softly with his 
fingertips, and then began care- 
fully rubbing down the metal of 
the machine. He tested a few lev- 
ers by hand and oiled one of them, 
humming to himself. But he no- 
ticed himself humming and 
stopped. 

The machine, the time ma- 
chine, was ready for operation. It 
was clean and had been checked 
over for a week; all the parts which 
were doubtful had been replaced, 
and on a trial run yesterday it had 
performed perfectly. Robert’s 
sweater — Robert’s, of course, not 
Arthur’s — had been sent two days 
into the future and had come back. 
It had been sent six months and 
then five years into the future, and 
it had still come back. But of course 
Arthur had never doubted that it 
would. 

Robert appeared in the doorway 
and watched him as he threw the 
switch and warmed the machine. 
A few dials moved, and Robert 
stepped forward with kis intelligent 
eyes to read them and glance down 
at the figures in his hand and nod. 
Arthur ignored him. He switched 
the machine off and stepped to the 
window to look at his watch; it 
w^as 7:43 a.m. He unstrapped the 



BROWN ROBERT 


77 


watch and handed it to Robert and 
went into the other room. 

In the office he sat in Robert’s 
chair by the window and looked 
out onto the courtyard. The girl, 
eighteen and brunette, had a class 
across the way at eight o’clock, and 
she always arrived early. Arthur 
always watched for her and when 
he saw her he diverted brown Rob- 
ert s attention, so that he always 
missed seeing her. He had been do- 
ing that ever since he had seen 
Robert talking with her two months 
before, 

Presently he saw her, walking 
quickly through the cold and up 
the steps to the courtyard. It was 
cold weather and she wore a heavy 
coat which concealed her figure, 
which was a good thing. Arthur 
knew how young men like cheek- 
bone Robert liked the summer 
months on campus. 

*'What time you want to go?” he 
called out, and when Robert came 
into the room he did not look out 
the window. 

'‘At eight,” said Robert. 

"You’re sure?” 

"Of course. I told you definitely 
yesterday, and I seldom change my 
mind.” 

"Well, you never know,” said 
Arthur. "Something might have 
come up, might have changed your 
plans.” 

Robert smiled as though he were 
flexing his face muscles. "Nothing 
is likely to at this point. Except 
perhaps an act of God.” 


An act of God, Arthur repeated 
in his mind, wanting to look out 
the window to see if the girl was 
safely out of sight yet. 

"There’s someone at the door,” 
he said. 

Robert went to the door, but 
there was no one there and he 
went outside to look down the 
stairs. Arthur turned and looked 
for the girl. She had sat down on a 
bench by the door to her building 
and was paging through a book, her 
hair falling softly like water-mist 
across her forehead. Even from this 
distance Arthur could see that it 
was clean, free hair, virgin’s hair. 
He knew the way absent Robert 
would hke to run his fingers 
through it, caressing the girl’s neck, 
tightly, holding her . . . 

Robert was dangerous. No one 
else realized that, but Arthur had 
watched young men on that cam- 
pus for thirty-two years, and he 
recognized the look he so often 
saw in Robert’s eyes. So many of 
them, students and young profes- 
sors, had that look, veiled, covert, 
waxing and waning behind the 
eyes, steadily building up to an ex- 
plosion like an — But Arthur did 
not want to think about that. 

He had tried, once, to warn 
others about Robert, whose mind 
was a labyrinth of foggy, dark halls. 
He had told them, down in the 
main office, one day after hours. 
That had been the day he had seen 
dark Robert with the girl, seen 
them together. He had told Mr. 



78 

Lewis’ assistant, and tried to warn 
her — fog Robert must be dismissed 
and sent away. But the woman 
had hardly listened to him, and as 
he had stood in the outer room on 
the way out, looking calmly at a 
chip in the baseboard, he had 
heard her speaking to Mr. Lewis, 
the president of the university. '‘We 
have to remember that Arthur is 
getting on in years,” she had said. 
“He’s probably having a little trou- 
ble with his memory, playing tricks 
on him. People who arc getting on 
in years sometimes aren’t very 
much in contact with reality.” Mr. 
Lewis’ assistant was a duU, grey 
woman. 

“Robert Ernsohn is one of our 
most valued young men,” Mr. 
Lewis had said. “We’re backing his 
research as fully as possible, and 
we have every confidence in him.” 
Arthur had heard some papers 
rustled and then silence, so he had 
stopped looking at tlic baseboard 
and gone out. 

Not in contact with reality? Ar- 
thur had been watching the reali- 
ties of young men and their eyes 
through all his years at the cam- 
pus, first as a janitor, then later as 
an assistant in the chemistry labs 
and up in the small observatory on 
the top floor. He had seen them 
looking at the, girls, light and 
rounded, long hair and tapered 
ankles and tight, swaying skirts. He 
knew about realities. 

He had read about them, in 
books from the library’s locked 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

shelves. Case histories of sadists 
and murderers and twisted minds 
of all sorts. Men who cut girls 
straight up the belly, dissected their 
breasts, removed the organs of their 
abdomens and laid them out neatly 
on the floor, and then carefully 
washed what remained of their 
bodies and put their clothes back 
on them and went away. Arthur 
had read all those books carefully, 
and he knew what reality was. It 
was all around him and he was cer- 
tainly in contact with it. 

The door behind him opened 
and frowning, eovert Robert came 
back into the room. 

“There was no one,” he said, 
and glanced at the watch and went 
into the laboratory where the ma- 
chine was. 

“It must be time,” Arthur said, 
and followed him. 

“Yes, it is,” Robert said, sitting 
on the couch. Arthur pulled the 
scanner forward to where it rested 
directly above Robert’s body, and 
set the calibrations exactly correct- 
ly. He activated the machine and 
waited while it warmed. 

Ambitious Robert was going in- 
to the future. Not far, just one 
hour . . . but it would make his- 
tory; he would be the first. No one 
else seemed to have the slightest 
inkling of the method, but nar- 
row-eyed Robert had run across it 
and had huilt his machine, telhng 
the administration it w^as some- 
thing else, keeping it secret, keep- 
ing men from the bigger universi- 



BROWN ROBERT 


79 


ties and corporations from coming 
in and taking over his work. “I have 
to believe in my own abilities,” 
Robert had said. 

Arthur watched him as he lay 
back on the couch under the ap- 
paratus of the machine. Robertas 
eyes, long-lashed, closed softly and 
he drew a deep, even breath. *Tm 
ready.” 

So brown Robert goes into the 
future, Arthur thought. And when 
he comes back he intends to bring 
witnesses to see him an hour from 
now,^two of him, and to explain 
it all with his full, rich, curdled 
voice, and write a paper and go to 
a larger university and be famous 
where there are more and more 
young, rounded girls. Because Rob- 
ert knows reality almost as well as 
I do. 

Arthur checked the dials and 
meters of the machine carefully, 
seeing that they were exactly as 
Robert had ordered them. Arthur 
was a good, careful worker, and 
that was why even when Mr. Lew- 
is* assistant had scoffed at him he 
had not been afraid of being dis- 
missed. Everybody knew that he al- 
ways did exactly as he was told. 

‘‘Goodbye,” he said. He flicked 
the switch and Robert disappeared. 

He stepped over to the empty 
couch and placed his hand on the 
soft, worn leather cushion, feeling 
its warmth from the body which 
had just left it. Robert was in the 
future. 

But he had to bring him back. 


He reset the machine and threw an- 
other switch and Robert reap- 
peared on the couch. Arthur went 
and stood over him and looked 
for a long time at the blood flowing 
from his mouth and nostrils and 
eyes and ears. There was a small 
hole tom through his right leg, and 
that was beginning to bleed too. 
He was dead. 

The gash in his leg must have 
been from a small meteor, Arthur 
decided. He had heard about them 
when he was working in the obser- 
vatory. It had been one afternoon 
when he had been working there 
that he had realized what would 
happen to Robert when he went 
into the future. Because of course 
he could travel forward in time and 
reappear an hour later, but the 
Earth would not be there, because 
the Earth moved around the sun at 
about eighteen and a half miles a 
second and for that matter the 
whole solar system seemed to be 
moving at about twelve miles a 
second toward a point in the con- 
stellation Hercules. That was what 
someone in the Astronomy depart- 
ment had told him, anyway, and 
he had memorized it. 

So Robert had landed an hour 
in the future, but somewhere out 
in space, and he had died, the pres- 
sure of oxygen in his body hemor- 
aging his bloodvessels and bursting 
his lungs before he could even suf- 
focate. But of course it hadn’t 
been Arthur s fault. 

Humming softly to himself. 



cSU 

Arthur closed down the machine 
and washed as much blood as he 
could from Robert’s head. Some of 
it was drying already, leaving a 
brownish crust on the cold skin. 
He rearranged Robert’s clothes, 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

and went downstairs to report 
what happened. 

He went directly, stopping only 
once to watch a young girl with a 
soft, full red sweater as she strug- 
gled out of her heavy coat. 


Six Haiku 

1 

The white vapor trail 

Scrawls slowly on the sky 
Without any squeak. 

2 

Gilt and painted clouds 

Float back through the shining air, 
What, are there stars, too? 

3 

In the heavy world’s 

Shadow, I watch the sputnik 
Coasting in sunlight. 

4 

Those crisp cucumbers 

Not yet planted in Syrtis — 

How 1 desire one! 

5 

In the fantastic 

Seas of Venus, who would dare 
To imagine gulls? 

6 

When Proxima sets 

What constellation do they 
Dream around our sun? 


— Karen Anderson 



Joanna Russ sees in her story's theme (battered and squeezed 
by legions of hack-writers) no mere exercise in gothick terrors 
or eldritch horrors, but the “promise of endless love and end- 
less time.” What is no less remarkable is that she makes us see 
it, too. True in atmosphere as well as detail in respect to per- 
iod (the 1880s) and place (San Francisco), this story of the 
killing sunlight and the living night, of Emily and Charlotte 
and Martin and WiUiam, Japanese lanterns and wolfsbane, 
and of passion burning cold as ice, is beautifully written: we 
predict it will become a classic of its kind. 


MY DEAR EMILY 

by Joanna Russ 


San Francisco, 188 - 

I am 90 looking forward to see- 
ing my dear Emily at last, now 
she is grown, a woman, although 
Vm sure I will hardly recognize 
her. She must not be proud (as if 
she could beO but will remember 
her friends, I know, and have pa- 
tience with her dear Will who 
cannot help but remember the girl 
she was, and the sweet influence 
she had in her old home. I talk 
to your father about you every day, 
dear, and he longs to see you as I 
do. Think! a learned lady in our 
circle! But I know you have not 
changed • . • 

Emily came home from 


school in April with her bosom 
friend Charlotte. They had loved 
each other in school, but they 
didn't speak much on the train. 
While Emily read Mr. Emerson's 
poems, Charlotte examined the 
scenery through opera-glasses. She 
expressed her wish to see ‘'sav- 
ages.” 

‘That’s foolish,” says Emily 
promptly. 

“If we were carried oflE,” says 
Charlotte, “I don’t think you 
would notice it in time to disap- 
prove.” 

“That’s very foolish,” says Em- 
ily, touching her round lace col- 
lar with one hand. She looks up 
from Mr. Emerson to stare Char- 


81 



82 

lotte out of countenance, proper- 
ly, morally, and matter-of-course 
young lady. It has always been 
her style. 

“The New England look,** 
Charlotte snaps resentfully. She 
makes her opera-glasses slap shut. 

“I should like to be carried 
off,” she proposes; “but then I 
don’t have an engagement to look 
forward to. A delicate affair.” 

“You mustn’t make fun,” says 
Emily. Mr. Emerson drops into 
her lap. She stares unseeing at 
Charlotte’s opera-glasses. 

“Why do they close?” she asks 
helplessly. 

“I beg your pardon?” blankly, 
from Charlotte. 

“Nothing. You’re much nicer 
than I am,” says Emily. 

“Look,” urges Charlotte kindly, 
pressing the toy into her friend’s 
hand. 

“For savages?” 

Charlotte nods, Emily pushes 
the spring that will open the little 
machine, and a moment later 
drops them into her lap where 
they fall on Mr. Emerson. There 
is a cut across one of her fingers 
and a blue pinch darkening the 
other. 

“They hurt me,” she says with- 
out expression, and as Charlotte 
takes the glasses up quickly, Emily 
looks with curious sad passivity at 
the blood from her little wound, 
which has bled an incongruous 
passionate drop on Mr. Emerson’s 
clothbound poems. To her friend’s 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

surprise (and her own, too) she 
begins to cry, heavily, silently, 
and totally without reason. 

He wakes up slowly, mistily, 
dizzily, with a vague memory of 
having fallen asleep on plush. He 
is intensely miserable, bound 
down to his bed with hoops of 
steel, and the memory adds nau- 
sea to his misery, solidifying tick- 
lishly around his bare hands and 
the back of his neck as he drifts 
towards wakefulness. His stomach 
turns over with the dry brushy 
filthiness of it. With the caution 
of the chronically ill, he opens his 
eyelids, careful not to move, care- 
ful even to keep from focusing his 
gaze until — he thinks to himself 
— his bed stops holding him with 
the force of Hell and this intense 
miserable sickness goes down, set- 
tles . . . Darkness. No breath. 
A glimmer of light, a stone wall. 
He thinks: Vm dead and buried, 
dead and buried, dead and — 
With infinite care he attempts to 
breathe, sure that this time it will 
be easy; he’ll be patient, discreet, 
sensible, he won’t do it all at 
once — 

He gags. Spasmodically, he 
gulps, cries out, and gags again, 
springing convulsively to his knees 
and throwing himself over the low 
wall by his bed, laboring as if he 
were breathing sand. He starts to 
sweat. His heartbeat comes back, 
then pulse, then seeing, hearing, 
swallowing . . . High in the wall 



MY DEAR EMILY 


83 


a window glimmers, a star is out, 
the sky is pale evening blue. 
Trembling with nausea, he rises 
to his feet, sways a little in the 
gloom, then puts out one arm and 
steadies himself against the stone 
wall. He sees the window, sees the 
door ahead of him. In his tearing 
eyes the star suddenly blazes and 
lengthens like a knife; his head is 
whirling, his heart painful as a 
man's; he throws his hands over 
his face, longing for life and 
strength to come back, the over- 
whelming flow of force that will 
c^t at sunrise, leaving him rag- 
ing at the world and ready to kill 
anyone, utterly proud and con- 
temptuous, driven to sleep as the 
last resort of a balked assassin. 
But it's diflBcult to stand, difficult 
to breathe: 1 wish I were dead and 
buried, dead and buried, dead and 
buried — But there! he whispers to 
himself like a charm, There, it*s 
going, it's going away. He smiles 
slyly round at his companionable, 
merciful stone walls. With an in- 
voluntarily silent, gliding gait he 
moves towards the door, opens the 
iron gate, and goes outside. Life is 
coming back. The trees are black 
against the sky, which yet holds 
some light; far away in the West 
he the radiant memories of a van- 
ished sun. An always vanished sun. 

'‘Alive!" he cries, in triumph. It 
is — as usual — his first word of the 
day. 

Dear Emily, sweet Emily, met 


Martin Guevara three days after 
she arrived home. She had been 
shown the plants in the garden 
and the house plants in stands 
and had praised them; she had 
been shown the sun-pictures and 
had praised them; she had fin- 
gered antimacassars, promised to 
knit, exclaimed at gaslights, and 
passed two evenings at home, do- 
ing nothing. Then in the hall that 
led to the pantry sweet Will had 
taken her hand and she had 
dropped her eyes because you were 
supposed to and that was her style. 
Charlotte (who slept in the same 
room as her friend) embraced her 
at bedtime, wept over the hand- 
taking, and then Emily said to her 
dear, dear friend (without think- 
ing): 

"Sweet William." 

Charlotte laughed. 

"Its not a joke!" 

"It’s so funny." 

"I love Will dearly." She won- 
dered if God would strike her dead 
for a hypocrite. Charlotte was 
looking at her oddly, and smiling. 

"You mustn't be full of levity,” 
said Emily, peeved. It was then 
that sweet William came in and 
told them of tomorrow’s garden- 
party, which was to be composed 
of her father's congregation. They 
were lucky, he said, to have ac- 
quaintances of such position and 
character. Charlotte slipped out 
on purpose and Will, seeing they 
were alone, attempted to take 
Emily’s hand again. 



FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


84 

"Leave me alone!” Emily said 
angrily. He stared. 

"I said leave me alone!” 

And she gave him such a look 
of angry pride that, in fact, he did. 

Emily sees Guevara across the 
parlor by the abominable cherry- 
red sofa, talking animatedly and 
carelessly. In repose he is slight, 
undistinguished, and plain, but 
no one will ever see him in re- 
pose; Emily realizes this. His 
strategy is never to rest, to be- 
wilder, he would (she thinks) slap 
you if only to confuse you, and 
when he can't he’s always out of 
the way and attacking, making 
one look ridiculous. She knows 
nobody and is bored; she starts for 
the door to the garden. 

At the door his hand closes over 
her wrist; he has somehow gotten 
there ahead of her. 

"The lady of the house,” he 
says. 

“I’m back from school,” 

"And you’ve learned — ?” 

"Let me go, please.” 

"Never.” He drops her hand and 
stands in the doorway. She says: 

"I want to go outside.” 

"Never.” 

"ril call my father.” 

"Do.” She tries and can’t talk; I 
wouldn’t bother y she thinks to her- 
self, loftily. She goes out into the 
garden with him. Under the trees 
his plainness vanishes like smoke. 

"You want lemonade,” he says. 

"I’m not going to talk to you,” 


she responds. "I’ll talk to Will. 
Yes! I’ll make him — ” 

"In trouble,” says Mr. Guevara, 
returning silently with lemonade 
in a glass cup. 

"No thank you.” 

"She wants to get away,” says 
Martin Guevara. "I know.” 

"If I had your trick of walking 
like a cat,” she says, "I could get 
out of anything.” 

"I can get out of anything,” 
says the gentleman, handing Em- 
ily her punch, "Out of an engage- 
ment, a difiBculty. I can even get 
you out of anything.” 

"I loathe you,” whispers Emily 
suddenly. "You walk like a cat. 
You re ugly.” 

"Not out here,” he remarks. 

"Who has to be afraid of 
lights?” cries Emily energetically. 
He stands away from the paper 
lanterns strung between the trees, 
handsome, comfortable and col- 
lected, watching Emily’s cut-glass 
cup shake in her hand. 

"I can’t move,” die says miser- 
ably. 

"Try.” She takes a step towards 
him. "See; you can.” 

"But I wanted to go axvayT 
With sudden hysteria she flings 
the lemonade (cup and all) into 
his face, but he is no longer 
there. 

"What are you doing at a 
church supper, you hypocrite!” she 
shouts tearfully at the vacancy. 

Sweet WilHam has to lead her 
in to bed. 



MY DEAR EMILY 


85 


‘Tou thought better of it,” re- 
marks Martin, head framed in an 
evening window, sounds of foot- 
steps outside, ladies* heels clicking 
in the streets. 

don't know you,** she says 
miserably, “I just don’t.** He takes 
her light shawl, a pattern in India 
cashmere. 

“That will come,** he says, smil- 
ing. He sits again, takes her hand, 
and squeezes the skin on the 
wrist. 

“Let me go, please?” she says 
like a child. 

^ *1 don’t know.” 

‘Tou talk like the smart young 
gentlemen at Andover; they were 
all fools.** 

“Perhaps you overawed them.** 
He leans forward and puts his 
hand around the back of her neck 
For a moment. “Come on, dear.** 

“What are you talking about!** 
Emily cries. 

“San Francisco is a lovely city. 
I had ancestors here three hun- 
dred years ago.*’ 

'^‘Don*t think that because I 
came here — ** 

“She doesn’t,** he whispers, 
grasping her shoulder, “She does- 
n’t know a thing.” 

“God damn you!” 

He blinks and sits back. Emily 
is weeping. The confusion of 
the room — an over-stuffed, over- 
draped hotel room — has gotten on 
her nerves. She snatches for her 
shawl, which is still in his grasp, 
but he holds it out of her reach, 


darting his handsome, unnatural- 
ly young face from side to side as 
she tries to reach round him. She 
falls across his lap and lies there, 
breathless vnth terror. 

“You’re cold,” she whispers hor- 
rified, “you’re cold as a corpse.” 
The shawl descends lightly over 
her head and shoulders. His frozen 
hands help her to her feet. He is 
delighted; he bares his teeth in a 
smile. 

“I think,” he says, tasting it, 
“that Fm going to visit your fam- 
ily.” 

“But you don’t — ” she stumbles 
— “you don’t want to . . . sleep 
with me. I know it.” 

“I can be a suitor like anyone 
else,” he says. 

That night Emily tells it all to 
Charlotte, who, afraid of the 
roue, stays up and reads a French 
novel as the light drains from the 
windows and the true black dark 
takes its place. It is towards dawn 
and Charlotte has been dozing, 
when Emily shakes her friend 
awake, kneeling by the bed with 
innocent blue eyes reflecting the 
dying night. 

“I had a terrible dream,” she 
complains. 

“Hmmmm?” 

“I dreamed,” says Emily tiredly. 
“I had a nightmare. I dreamed I 
was walking by the beach and I 
decided to go swimming and then 
a ... a thing, I don’t know 
... it took me by the neck.” 



86 

''Is that all?'* says Charlotte 
peevishly. 

"Fm sick," says Emily with 
childish satisfaction. She pushes 
Charlotte over in the bed and 
climbs in with her. won't have 
to see that man again if I’m sick." 

"Pooh, why not?" mumbles 
Charlotte. 

"Because I’ll have to stay 
home." 

"He’ll visit you." 

"William won’t let him." 

"Sick?" says Charlotte then, 
suddenly waking up. She moves 
away from her friend, for she has 
read more bad fiction than Emily 
and less moral poetry. 

"Yes, I feel awful," says Emily 
simply, resting her head on her 
knees. She pulls away in tired ir- 
ritation when her friend reaches 
for the collar of her nightdress. 
Charlotte looks and jumps out of 
bed. 

"Oh," says Charlotte. "Oh— 
goodness — oh — " holding out her 
hands. 

"What on earth’s the matter 
with you?" 

"He’s — ’’ whispers Charlotte in 
horror, "He’s — " 

In the dim light her hands are 
black with blood. 

"You’ve come," he says. He is 
lying on his hotel sofa, reading a 
newspaper, his feet over one arm 
and a hand trailing on the rug, 

‘Tes," she answers, trembling 
with resolution. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

"I never thought this place 
would have such a good use. But I 
never know when I’ll manage to 
pick up money — ’’ 

With a blow of her hand, she 
makes a fountain of the news- 
paper; he lies on the sofa, mildly 
amused. 

"Nobody knows I came," she 
says rapidly. "But I’m going to 
finish you off. I know how." She 
hunts feverishly in her bag. 

"I wouldn’t," he remarks quietly. 

"Ah!" Hauling out her baby 
cross (silver), she confronts him 
with it like Joan of Arc. He is still 
amused, still mildly surprised. 

"In your hands?" he says deli- 
cately. Her fingers are loosening, 
her face pitiful. 

"My dear, the significance is in 
the feeling, the faith, not the sym- 
bol. You use that the way you 
would use a hypodermic needle. 
Now in your father’s hands — ” 

"I dropped it," she says in a fit- 
tie voice. He picks it up and hands 
it to her. 

"You can touch — " she says, her 
face screwing up for tears. 

"I can." 

"Oh my God!" she cries in 
despair. 

"My dear." He puts one arm 
around her, holding her against 
him, a very strong man for she 
pushes frantically to free herself. 
"How many times have I said 
that! But you’ll learn. Do I sound 
like the silly boys at Andover?" 
Emily’s eyes are fixed and her 



MY DEAR EMILY 


87 


throat contracts; he forces her 
head between her knees. "The 
way you go on, you’d think I was 
bad luck.” 

"I— I—” 

"And you without the plentiful 
lack of brains that characterizes 
your friend. She’ll be somebody’s 
short work and I think I know 
whose.” 

Emily turns white again. 

"I’ll send her around to you 
afterwards. Good God! What do 
you think will happen to her?” 

"She’ll die,” says Emily clearly, 
grasps her by the shoulders. 

"Ah!” he says with immense sat- 
isfaction. "And after that? Who 
lives forever after that? Did you 
know that?” 

"Yes, people like you don’t die,” 
whispers Emily. "But you’re not 
people — ” 

"No,” he says intently, "No. 
We’re not.” He stands Emily on 
her feet. "We’re a passion!” Smil- 
ing triumphantly, he puts his 
hands on each side of her head, 
flattening the pretty curls, digging 
his fingers into the hair, in a grip 
Emily can no more break than she 
could break a vise. 

"We’re passion,” he whispers, 
amused. "Life is passion. Desire 
makes life.” 

"Ah, let me go,” says Emily. 

He smiles ecstatically at the sick 
girl. 

"Desire,” he says dreamily, 
"lives; that lives when nothing 
else does, and we’re desire made 


purely, desire walking the Earth. 
Can a dead man walk? Ah! If you 
want, want, want . . .” 

He throws his arms around her, 
pressing her head to his chest and 
nearly suffocating her, ruining her 
elaborate coiffure and crushing 
the lace at her throat. Emily 
breathes in the deadness about 
him, the queer absence of odor, or 
heat, or presence; her mouth is 
pressed against the cloth of his 
fashionable suit, expensive stuff, a 
good dollar a yard, gotten by — 
what? But his hands are strong 
enough to get anything. 

"You see,” he says gently, "I en- 
joy someone with intelligence, 
even with morals; it adds a cer- 
tain — And besides — ” here he re- 
leases her and holds her face up to 
his — "we like souls that come to 
us; these visits to the bedrooms of 
unconscious citizens are rather 
like frequenting a public brothel.” 

"I abhor you,” manages Emily. 
He laughs. He’s delighted. 

"Yes, yes, dear,” he says, "But 
don’t imagine we’re callous para- 
sites. Followers of the Marquis de 
Sade, perhaps — you see Frisco has 
evening hours for its bookstores! 
— but sensitive souls, really, and 
apt to long for a little conscious 
partnership.” Emily shuts her 
eyes. "I said,” he goes on, with a 
touch of hardness, "that I am a 
genuine seducer. I flatter myself 
that I’m not an animal.” 

"You’re a monster,” says Emily, 
with utter conviction. Keeping 



FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


one hand on her shoulder, he 
steps back a pace. 

“Go.” She stands, unable to be- 
lieve her luck, then makes what 
seems to her a rush for the door; it 
carries her into his arms. 

‘Tou see?” He’s pleased; he’s 
proved a point. 

“I can’t,” she says, with wide 
eyes and wrinkled forehead. . . 

“You will.” He reaches for her 
and she faints. 

Down in the dark where love 
and some other things make their 
hidingplace, Emily drifts aimless- 
ly, quite alone, quite cold, like a 
dead woman without a passion in 
her soul to make her come back to 
life. 

She opens her eyes and finds 
herself looking at his face in the 
dark, as if the man carried his 
own light with him. 

“I’ll die,” she says softly. 

“Not for a while,” he drawls, 
sleek and content. 

'Tou’ve killed me.” 

“I’ve loved.” 

“Love!” 

'‘Say ‘taken’ then, if you in- 
sist” 

“I do! I do!” she cried bitterly. 

“You decided to faint.” 

“Oh the hell with you!” she 
shouts. 

“Good girl!” And as she col- 
lapses, weeping hysterically, 
“Now, now, come here, dear . . 
nuzzling her abused little neck. 
He kisses it in the tenderest fash- 


ion with an exaggerated, mocking 
sigh; she twists away, but is pulled 
closer and as his lips open over 
the teeth of inhuman, dead de- 
sire, his victim finds — to her sur- 
prise — that there is no pain. She 
braces herself and then, unex- 
pectedly, shivers from head to 
foot. 

“Stop it!” she whispers, horri- 
fied. “Stop it! Stop it!” 

But a vampire who has found a 
soul-mate (even a temporary one) 
will be immoderate. There’s no 
stopping them. 

Charlotte’s books have not pre- 
pared her for this, 

‘Tou’re to stay in the house, my 
dear, because you’re ill.” 

“I’m not,” Emily says, pulling 
the sheet up to her chin. 

“Of course you are.” The Rever- 
end beams at her, under the por- 
trait of Emily’s dead mother which 
hangs in Emily’s bedroom. 
“You’ve had a severe chill.” 

“But I have to get out!” says 
Emily, sitting up. “Because I have 
an appointment, you see.” 

“Not now,” says the Reverend. 

“But I can't have a severe chill 
in the summerV* 

“You look so like your mother,” 
says the Reverend, musing. After 
he has gone away, Charlotte comes 
in. 

“I have to stay in the damned 
bed,” says Emily forcefully, wig- 
gling her toes under the sheet. 
Charlotte, who has been carrying 



MY DEAR EMILY 


89 


a tray with tea and a posy on it, 
drops it on the washstand. 

‘Why, Emily!” 

“I have to stay in the damned 
bed the whole damned day,” Emily 
adds. 

“Dear, why do you use those 
words?” 

“Because the whole world's 
damned!” 

After the duties of his employ- 
ment were completed at six o'clock 
on a Wednesday, William came to 
the house with a doctor and intro- 
duced him to the Reverend and 
Emily '^s bosom friend. The street 
lamps would not be lit for an hour 
but the sun was just down and 
the little party congregated in the 
garden under remains of Japanese 
paper lanterns. No one ever wor- 
ried that these might set them- 
selves on fire. Lucy brought tea — 
they were one of the few civilized 
circles in Frisco — and over the 
tea, in the darkening garden, to 
the accompaniment of sugar-tongs 
and plopping cream (very musi- 
cal) they talked. 

“Do you think,” says the Rev- 
erend, very worried, “that it might 
be consumption?” 

“Perhaps the lungs are affect- 
ed,” says the doctor. 

“She's always been such a ro- 
bust girl.” This is William, put- 
ting down the teapot which has a 
knitted tube about the handle, for 
insulation. Charlotte is stirring her 
tea with a spoon. 


“It's very strange,” says the doc- 
tor serenely, and he repeats “it's 
very strange” as shadows advance 
in the garden. “But young ladies, 
you know — especially at twenty — 
young ladies often take strange 
ideas into their heads; they do, 
they often do; they droop; they 
worry.” His eyes are mild, his 
back sags, he hears the pleasant 
gurgle of more tea. A quiet con- 
sultation, good people, good solid 
people, a little illness, nothing se- 
rious — 

“No,” says Charlotte. Nobody 
hears her. 

“I knew a young lady once — ” 
ventures the doctor mildly. 

“No,” says Charlotte, more loud- 
ly. Everyone turns to her, and 
Lucy, taking the opportunity, in- 
sinuates a plate of small-sized muf- 
fins in front of Charlotte. 

“I can tell you all about it,” 
mutters Charlotte, glancing up 
from under her eyebrows. “But 
you'll laugh,'* 

“Now, dear — ” says the Rever- 
end. 

“Now, miss — ” says the doctor. 

“As a friend — ” says William. 

Charlotte begins to sob. 

“Oh,” she says, “I'll— I'll tell 
you about it.” 

Emily meets Mr. Guevara at 
the Mansion House at seven, hav- 
ing recovered an appearance of 
health (through self-denial) and 
a good solid record of spending 
the evenings at home (through 



90 

self-control). She stands at the ho- 
tel's wrought-iron gateway, her 
back rigid as a stick, drawing on 
white gloves. Martin materializes 
out of the blue evening shadows 
and takes her arm. 

“I shall like living forever,” says 
Emily, thoughtfully. 

‘'God deliver me from Puri- 
tans,” says Mr. Guevara, 

“What?” 

“You're a lady. You'll swallow 
me up.” 

“rn do anything I please,” re- 
marks Emily severely, with a glint 
of teeth. 

“Ah.” 

“I will.” They walk through the 
gateway. “You don't care two pins 
for me.” 

“Unfortunately,” says he, bow- 
ing. 

“It's not unfortunate as long as 
I care for me,” says Emily, smiling 
with great energy. “Damn them 
all.” 

“You proper girls would over- 
turn the world.” Along they walk 
in the evening, in a quiet, re- 
spectable rustle of clothes. Half- 
way to the restaurant she stops 
and says breathlessly: 

“Let's go — somewhere else!” 

“My dear, you’ll ruin your 
health!” 

“You know better. Three weeks 
ago I was sick as a dog and much 
you cared; I haven’t slept for days 
and I’m fine.” 

‘Tou look fine.” 

“Ah! You mean I'm beginning 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

to look dead, like you.” She tight- 
ens her hold on his arm, to bring 
him closer. 

“Dead?” says he, slipping his 
arm around her. 

“Fixed. Bright-eyed. Always at 
the same heat and not a moment's 
rest.” 

“It agrees with you.” 

“I adore you,” she says. 

When Emily gets home, there's 
a reckoning. TTie Reverend stands 
in the doorway and sad WiUiam, 
too, but not Charlotte, for she is 
on the parlor sofa, having had hys- 
terics. 

“Dear Emily,” says the Rever- 
end. “We don't know how to tell 
you this — ” 

“Why, Daddy, what?'* exclaims 
Emily, making wide-eyes at him. 

‘Tour little friend told us — ” 

“Has something happened to 
Charlotte?” cries Emily. “Oh tell 
me, tell me, what happened to 
Charlotte?” And before they can 
stop her she has flown into the 
parlor and is kneeling beside her 
friend, wondering if she dares 
pinch her under cover of her 
^awl. William, quick as a flash, 
kneels on one side of her and 
Daddy on the other. 

“Dear Emily!” cries WiUiam 
with fervor. 

‘‘Oh sweetheart!” says Char- 
lotte, reaching down and putting 
her arms around her friend. 

“You're weU!” shouts Emily, 
sobbing over Charlotte's hand and 



MY DEAR EMILY 


91 


thinking perhaps to bite her. But 
the Reverend's arms lift her up. 

''My dear," says he, "you came 
home unaccompanied. You were 
not at the Society." 

"But," says Emily, smiling 
dazzlingly, "two of the girls took 
all my hospital sewing to their 
house because we must finish it 
right away and I have not — " 

"You have been lying to us," 
the Reverend says. Now, thinks 
Emily, sweet William will cover 
his face, Charlotte sobs, 

"She can’t help it," says Char- 
lotte brokenly. "It’s ihe spell." 

'^Why, I think everyone’s gone 
out of their minds," says Emily, 
frowning. Sweet William takes her 
from Daddy, leading her away 
from Charlotte. 

"Weren’t you with a gentleman 
tonight?" says Sweet Will firmly. 
Emily backs away. 

"For shame!" 

"She doesn't remember it,” ex- 
plains Charlotte; "it’s part of his 
spell." 

"I think you ought to get a doc- 
tor for her,* observes Emily. 

"You were with a gentleman 
named Guevara," says Will, show- 
ing less tenderness than Emily ex- 
pects. "Weren’t you? Well — were- 
n’t you?" 

"Bad cess to you if I was!" 
snaps Emily, surprised at herself. 
The other three gasp. '‘I won’t be 
questioned," she goes on, "and I 
won’t be spied upon. And I think 
you’d better take some of Char- 


lotte’s books away from her; she’s 
getting downright silly." 

"You have too much color," says 
Will, catching her hands. "You’re 
ill but you don’t sleep. You stay 
awake all night. You don’t eat. But 
look at you!" 

"I don’t understand you. Do 
you want me to be ugly?" says 
Emily, trying to be pitiful. Will 
softens; she sees him do it. 

"My dear Emily," he says. "My 
dear girl — we’re afraid for you." 

"Me?" says Emily, enjoying her- 
self. 

"We’d better put you to bed," 
says the Reverend kindly. 

"You’re so kind," whispers Em- 
ily, blinking as if she held back 
tears. 

"That’s a good girl," says Will, 
approving. "We know you don’t 
understand. But we’ll take care of 
you, Em." 

"W///you?" 

"Yes, dear. You’ve been near 
very grave danger, but luckily we 
found out in time,, and we found 
out what to do; we’ll make you 
well, we’ll keep you safe, we’U 

"Not with that you won’t," says 
Emily suddenly, rooting herself to 
the spot, for what William takes 
out of his vest pocket (where he 
usually keeps his watch) is a 
broad-leaved, prickle-faced dock 
called wolfsbane; it must distress 
any vampire ~bf sense to be so en- 
slaved to pure superstition. But 
enslaved they are, nonetheless. 



92 

“Oh, no!” says Emily swifdy. 
“That's silly, perfectly silly!” 

“Common sense must give way 
in such a crisis,” remarks the Rev- 
erend gravely. 

“You bastard!” shouts Emily, 
turning red, attempting to tear the 
charm out of her fiance’s hand and 
jump up and down on it. But the 
Reverend holds one arm and 
Charlotte the other and between 
them they pry her fingers apart 
and William puts his property 
gently in his vest-pocket again. 

“She’s far gone,” says the Rev- 
erend fearfully, at his angry 
daughter. Emily is scowling, Char- 
lotte stroking her hair. 

“Ssssh” says Will with great seri- 
ousness. “We must get her to 
bed,” and between them they half- 
carry Emily up the stairs and put 
her, dressed as she is, in the big 
double bed with the plush head- 
board that she has shared so far 
vdth Charlotte. Daddy and fiance 
confer in the room across the long, 
low rambling hall, and Charlotte 
sits by her rebelhous friend’s bed 
and attempts to hold her hand. 

“I won’t permit it; you’re a 
damned fool!” says Emily. 

“Oh, Emmy!” 

“Bosh.” 

“It’s true!” 

“Is it?” With extraordinary 
swiftness, Emily turns round in 
the bed and rises to her knees. 
“Do you know anything about 
it?” 

“I know it’s horrid, I — ” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“Silly!” Playfully Emily puts her 
hands on Charlotte’s shoulders. 
Her eyes are narrowed, her nos- 
trils widened to breathe; she parts 
her lips a little and looks archly 
at her friend. “You don’t know 
anything about it,” she says in- 
sinuatingly. 

“I’ll call your father,” says 
Charlotte quickly. 

Emily throws an arm around 
her friend’s neck. 

“Not yet! Dear Charlotte!” 

“We’ll save you,” says Char- 
lotte doubtfully. 

“Sweet Charrie; you’re my 
friend, aren’t you?” 

Charlotte begins to sob again. 

“Give me those awful things, 
those leaves.” 

“Why, Emily, I cowWw’tr 

“But he’ll come for me and I 
have to protect myself, don’t I?” 

“I’ll call your father,” says 
Charlotte firmly. 

“No, I’m afraid” And Emily 
wrinkles her forehead sadly. 

“Well—” 

“Sometimes I — I — ” falters Em- 
ily. “I can’t move or run away 
and everything looks so — so 
strange and horrible — ” 

“Oh, here!” Covering her face 
with one hand, Charlotte holds 
out her precious dock leaves in 
the other. 

“Dear, dear! Oh, sweet! Oh 
thank you! Don’t be afraid. He 
isn’t after you.” 

“I hope not,” says the bosom 
friend. 



MY DEAR EMILY 


93 


''Oh no, he told me. It’s me he’s 
after.” 

"How awful,” says Charlotte, 
sincerely. 

"Yes,” says Emily. "Look.” And 
she pulls down the collar of her 
dress to show the ugly marks, 
white dots unnaturally healed up, 
hke the pockmarks of a drug ad- 
dict. 

"Don’t!” chokes Charlotte. 

Emily smiles mournfully. "We 
really ought to put the lights 
out,” she says. 

J'Qut!” 

"Yes, you can see him better 
that way. If the lights are on, he 
could sneak in without being 
seen; he doesn’t mind lights, you 
know.” 

"I don’t know, dear — ” 

"I do.” (Emily is dropping the 
dock leaves into the washstand, 
under cover of her skirt.) "I’m 
afraid. Please.” 

"Well—” 

"Oh, you must!” And leaping to 
her feet, she turns down the gas 
to a dim glow; Charlotte’s face 
fades into the obscurity of the 
deepening shadows. 

"So. The lights are out,” says 
Emily quietly. 

"I’ll ask Will—” Charlotte be- 
gins . . . 

"No, dear.” 

"But, Emily — ” 

"He’s coming, dear.” 

"You mean Will is coming.” 

"No, not Will.” 

"Emily, you’re a — ” 


"I’m a sneak,” says Emily, 
chuckling. "SsssshI” And, while 
her friend sits paralyzed, one of 
the windows swings open in the 
night breeze, a lead-paned vidn- 
dow that opens on a hinge, for 
the Reverend is fond of culture 
and old architecture. Charlotte lets 
out a little noise in her throat; and 
then — with the smash of a pistol 
shot — the gaslight shatters and 
the flame goes out. Gas hisses into 
the air, quietly, insinuatingly, as 
if explaining the same thing over 
and over. Charlotte screams with 
her whole heart. In the dark a 
hand clamps like a vise on Emily’s 
wrist. A moment passes. 

"Charlotte?” she whispers. 

"Dead,” says Guevara. 

Emily has spent most of the 
day asleep in the rubble, with his 
coat rolled under her head where 
he threw it the moment before 
sunrise, the moment before he 
staggered to his place and 
plunged into sleep. She has 
watched the dawn come up be- 
hind the rusty barred gate, and 
then drifted into sleep herself 
with his face before her closed 
eyes — his face burning with a rig- 
id, constricted, unwasting vital- 
ity. Now she wakes aching and 
bruised, with the sun of late after- 
noon in her face. Sitting against 
the stone wall, she sneezes twice 
and tries, inefiFectually, to shake 
the dust from her silk skirt. 

Oh, how — she thinks vaguely 



94 

— how messy. She gets to her 
feet. There's something I have to 
do. The iron gate swings open at a 
touch. Trees and gravestones tilt- 
ed every which way. What did he 
say? Nothing would disturb it but 
a Historical Society, 

Having tidied herself as best 
she can, with his coat over her 
arm and the address of his tailor in 
her pocket, she trudges among the 
erupted stones, which tilt crazily 
to all sides as if in an earthquake. 
Blood (Charlotte’s, whom she does 
not think about) has spread thinly 
on to her hair and the hem of her 
dress, but her hair is done up 
with fine feeling, despite the ab- 
sence of a mirror, and her dress is 
dark gray; the spot looks like a spot 
of dust. She folds the coat into a 
neat package and uses it to wipe 
the dust oft her shoes, then light- 
ens her step past the cemetery en- 
trance, trying to look healthy and 
respectable. She aches all over 
from sleeping on the ground. 

Once in town and having as- 
certained from a shop window 
that she will pass muster in a 
crowd, Emily trudges up hills and 
down hills to the tailor, the evi- 
dence over her arm. She stops at 
other windows, to look or to ad- 
mire herself; thinks smugly of her 
improved coloring; shifts the par- 
cel on her arm to show off her 
waist. In one window there is a 
display of religious objects — beads 
and crosses, books with fringed 
gilt bookmarks, a colored chromo 


FANTASY AND SCIENXE FICTION 

of Madonna and Child. In this 
window Emily admires herself, 

'‘It s Emily, dear!” 

A Mrs. L appears in the 

window beside her, with Constan- 

tia, Mrs. L ’s twelve-year- 

old offspring. 

“Why, dear, whatever hap- 
pened to you?” says Mrs. 

L , noticing no hat, no 

gloves, and no veil. 

“Nothing; whatever happened 
to you?” says Emily cockily. Con- 
stantias eyes grow wide with as- 
tonishment at the fine, free audac- 
ity of it. 

“Why, you look as if you’d 
been — ” 

“Picknicking,” says Emily, 
promptly. “One of the gentlemen 
spilled beer on his coat.” And 
she's in the shop now and hang- 
ing over the eounter, flushed, 
counting the coral and amber 
beads strung around a crucifix. 

Mrs. L knocks doubt- 

fully on the window-glass. 

Emily waves and smiles. 

Your father — form Mrs. L 

— ’s lips in the glass. 

Emily nods and waves cheer- 
fully. 

They do go away, finally. 

“A fine gentleman,” says the 
tailor earnestly, “a very fine man.” 
He lisps a little. 

“Oh very fine,” agrees Emily, 
sitting on a stool and kicking the 
rungs with her feet. “Monstrous 
fine.** 



MY DE.\K EMILY 


95 


"But very carekss,” says the 
tailor fretfully, pulling Martin’s 
coat nearer the window so he can 
see it, for the shop is a hole-in- 
the-wall and dark. "He shouldn’t 
send a lady to this part of the 
town.’’ 

"I was a lady once,’’ says Em- 
ily. 

''Mmmnim.’' 

‘It's fruit stains — something 
awful, don't you think?” 

‘1 cannot have this ready by to- 
night/' looking up. 

you must, that’s all,” 
says Emily calmly. ''You always 
have and he has a lot of confi- 
dence in you, you know. He’d be 
awfully angry if he found out.” 

"Found out?” sharply. 

"That you can’t have it ready 
by tonight.” 

The tailor ponders. 

"I’ll positively stay in the shop 
while you work,” says Emily flat- 
teringly. 

"Why, Reverend, I saw her on 
King Street as dirty as a gypsy, 
with her hair loose and the wild- 
est eyes and I tried to talk to her, 
but she dashed into a shop — ” 

The sun goes down in a broad 
belt of gold, goes down over the 
ocean, over the hills and the 
beaches, makes shadows lengthen 
in the street near the quays where 
a lisping tailor smooths and alters, 
working against the sun (and very 
uncomfortable he is, too), watched 


by a pair of unwinking eyes that 
glitter a little in the dusk inside 
the stuffy ^hop. (I think Vve 
changed, meditates Emily.) 

He finishes, finally, with re- 
lief, and sits with an oufl hand- 
ing her the coat, the new and 
beautiful coat that will be worn as 
soon as the eccentric gentleman 
comes out to take the evening air. 
The eccentric gentleman, says 
Emily incautiously, will do so in 
an hour by the Mansion House 
when the last traces of light have 
faded from the sky. 

"Then, my dear Miss,” says the 
tailor unctuously, "I think a httle 
matter of pay — ” 

"You don’t think,” says Emily 
softly, "or you wouldn’t have got- 
ten yourself into such a mess as to 
be this eccentric gentleman’s tai- 
lor.” And out she goes. 

Now nobody can see the stains 
on Emily’s skirt or in her hair; 
street lamps are being ht, there are 
no more carriages, and the num- 
ber of people in the streets grows 
— San Francisco making the most 
of the short summer nights. It is 
perhaps fifteen minutes back to 
the fashionable part of the town 
where Emily’s hatless, shawlless 
state will be looked on with dis- 
dain; here nobody notices. Emily 
dawdles through the streets, fin- 
gering her throat, yawning, look- 
ing at the sky, thinking: I love, I 
love, I love — 

She has fasted for the day but 
she feels fine; she feels busy, busy 



96 

inside as if the life inside her is 
flowering and bestirring itself, 
populated as the streets. She re- 
members — 

I love you. I Itate you. You en- 
chantment, you degrading neces- 
sity, you foul and filthy life, you 
promise of endless love and^nd- 
less time . . . 

What words to say with Char- 
lotte sleeping in the same room, 
no, the same bed, with her hands 
folded under her face! Innocent 
sweetheart, whose state must now 
be rather different. 

Up the hills she goes, where the 
view becomes wider and wider, 
and the lights spread out like 
sparkles on a cake, out of the sec- 
tion which is too dangerous, too 
low, and too furtive to bother 
with a lady (or is it something in 
her eyes?), into the broader by- 
streets where shore-leave sailors 
try to make her acquaintance by 
falling into step and seizing her 
elbow; she snakes away with un- 
bounded strength, darts into shad- 
ows, laughs in their faces : 'IVe got 
what I want!’' 

"Not like me!" 

"Better!" 

This is the Barbary Coast, only 
beginning to become a tourist at- 
traction; there are barkers outside 
the restaurants advertising pretty 
waiter girls, dance halls, spangled 
posters twice the height of a man, 
crowds upon crowds of people, 
one or two guides with tickets in 
their hats, and Emily — who keeps 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

to the shadows. She nearly chokes 
with laughter: What a field of 
ripe wheat! One of the barkers 
hoists her by the waist onto his 
platform. 

"Do you see this little lady? Do 
you see this — " 

"Let me go, God damn you!" 
she cries indignantly. 

"This angry little lady — " push- 
ing her chin with one sunburned 
hand to make her face the crowd. 
‘This — " But here Emily hurts 
him, slashing his palm with her 
teeth, quite pleased with herself, 
but surprised, too, for the man 
was holding his hand cupped and 
the whole thing seemed to happen 
of itself. She escapes instantly in- 
to the crowd and continues up 
through the Coast, through the old 
Tenderloin, drunk with self-confi- 
dence, slipping like a shadow 
through the now genteel streets 
and arriving at the Mansion 
House gate having seen no family 
spies and convinced that none has 
seen her. 

But nobody is there. 

Ten by the clock, and no one is 
there, either; eleven by the clock 
and still no one. Why didnt I 
leave this life when I had the 
chancel Only one thing consoles 
Emily, that by some alchemy or 
nearness to the state she longs for, 
no one bothers or questions her 
and even the policemen pass her 
by as if in her little corner of the 
gate there is nothing but a shad- 



MY DEAR EMILY 

ow. Midnight and no one, half- 
past and she dozes; perhaps three 
hours later, perhaps four, she is 
startled awake by the sound of 
footsteps. She wakes: nothing. 
She sleeps again and in her dream 
hears them for the second time, 
then she wakes to find herself 
looking into the face of a kdy who 
wears a veil. 

‘‘What!” Emily's startled whis- 
per. 

The lady gestures vaguely, as if 
trying to speak. 

“What is it?” 

“Pon’t — ” and the lady speaks 
with feeling but, it seems, with 
difficulty also — “don’t go home.” 

“Home?” echoes Emily, stupe- 
fied, and the stranger nods, say- 
ing: 

“In danger.” 

“Who?” Emily is horrified. 

“He’s in danger.” Behind her 
veil her face seems almost to emit 
a faint light of its own. 

“You’re one of them,” says Em- 
ily. “Aren’t you?” and when the 
woman nods, adds desperately, 
“Then you must save him!” 

The lady smiles pitifully; that 
much of her face can be seen as 
the light breeze plays with her net 
veil. 

“But you must!” exclaims Em- 
ily, “You know how; I don’t; you’ve 
got to!” 

“I don’t dare,” very softly. Then 
the veiled woman turns to go, but 
Emily — quite hysterical now — 
seizes her hand, saying: 


97 

“Who are you? Who are you?” 

The lady gestures vaguely and 
shakes her head. 

“Who are you!” repeats Emily 
with more energy. “You tell me, 
do you hear?” 

Sombrely the lady raises her 
veil and stares at her friend with 
a tragic, dignified, pitiful gaze. In 
the darkness her face burns with 
unnatural and beautiful color. 

It is Charlotte. 

Dawn comes with a pellucid 
quickening, glassy and ghostly. 
Slowly, shapes emerge from dark- 
ness and the blue pours back into 
the world — twilight turned back- 
wards and the natural order re- 
versed. Destruction, which is sim- 
ple, logical, and easy, finds a kind 
of mocking parody in the morn- 
ing’s creation. Light has no busi- 
ness coming back, but light does. 

Emily reaches the cemetery just 
as the caldron in the east over- 
flows, just as the birds (idiots! 
she thinks) begin a tentative 
cheeping and chirping. She sits at 
the gate for a minute to regain her 
strength, for the night’s walking 
and worry have tried her severely. 
In front of her the stones lie on 
graves, almost completely hard 
and real, waiting for the rising of 
the sun to finish them oflF and 
make complete masterpieces of 
them. Emily rises and trudges up 
the hill, slower and slower as the 
ground rises to its topmost swell, 
where three hundred years of 



98 

peaceful Guevaras fertilize the 
grass and do their best to discredit 
the one wild shoot that lives on, 
the only disrespectful member of 
the family. Weeping a little to 
herself, Emily lags up the hill, 
raising her skirts to keep them ofiE 
the weeds, and murderously hat- 
ing in her heart the increasing 
light and the happier celebrating 
of the birds. She rounds the last 
hillock of ground and raises her 
eyes to the Guevaras* eternal man- 
sion, expecting to see nobody 
again. There is the corner of the 
building, the low iron gate — 

In front of it stands Martin 
Guevara between her father and 
sweet sweet Will, captived by both 
arms, his face pale and beautiful 
between two gold crosses that are 
just beginning to sparkle in the 
light of day. 

“We are caught,” says Guevara, 
seeing her, directing at her his 
fixed, white smile. 

“You let him go,** says Emily — 
very reasonably. 

“You're safe, my Emily!” cries 
sweet Will. 

“Let him go!” She runs to them, 
stops, look at them, perplexed to 
the bottom of her soul. 

“Let him go,” she says. “Let him 
go, let him go!” 

BeUveen the two bits of jewel- 
ry, Emily's life and hope and only 
pleasure smiles painfully at her, 
the color drained out of his face, 
desperate eyes fixed on the east. 

“You don't understand,” says 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

Emily, inventing. “He isn’t dan- 
gerous now. If you let him go, he’ll 
run inside and then you can come 
back any time during the day and 
finish him off. I’m sick. You — ” 
The words die in her throat. 
All around them, from every tree 
and hedge, from boughs that have 
sheltered the graveyard for a hun- 
dred years, the birds begin their 
morning noise. A great hallelujah 
rises; after all, the birds have noth- 
ing to worry about. Numb, with 
legs like sticks, Emily sees sunlight 
touch the top of the stone mauso- 
leum, sunlight slide down its face, 
sunlight reach the level of a 
standing man — 

“I adore you,” says Martin to 
her. With the slow bending over 
of a drowning man, he doubles 
up, like a man stuck with a knife 
in a dream; he doubles up, falls — 
And Emily screams; What a 
scream! as if her soul were being 
haled out through her throat; and 
she is running down the other side 
of the little hill to regions as yet 
untouched by the sun, crying in- 
wardly: I need help! help! help! — 
She knows where she can get it. 
Three hundred feet down the hill 
in a valley, a wooded protected 
valley sunk below the touch of the 
rising sun, there she runs through 
the trees, past the fence that sep- 
arates the old graveyard from the 
new, expensive, polished granite 
— Charlotte is her friend, she loves 
her: Charlotte in her new home 
will make room for her. 



Of course, we knew all along that Dr. A. was pretty hot 
stuff himself, and any lighthearted remarks which we may 
have passed to the (seeming) contrary, such as, "Ike, you 
are just not with it,” we now recant: we never meant them, 
and probably never said them, anyway. One thing we do 
not wish to do, we do not wish to cross swords with A 
_J4an Who Has Influenced The Course Of Science. 


HOT STUFF 


by Isaac Asimov 


It is the life's ambition of every decent, right-thinking 
scientist or near-scientist (I use tlie latter noun as an excuse to include 
myself) to influence the course of science. — For the better, of course. 

Most of us, alas, have to give up that ambition and I did so long ago. 
Never (so my heart told me) would there be an “Asimov's law" to brighten 
the pages of a physics textbook, or an “Asimov reaction" to do the same 
for those of a chemistry textbook. Slowly, the possibility of an “Asimov 
theory" and even an “Asimov conjecture" slipped through my fingers, 
and I was left with nothing. 

With nothing, that is, but my electric typewriter and my big moutli, 
and the hidden hope that some idle speculation of my own might spark 
better minds than mine into some worthwhile accomplishment. 

Well, it s happened. 

And here's how it happened. 

An article of mine, entitled THE HEIGHT OF UP, appeared in 

99 


100 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


the October, 1959, issue of F & SF. In it, among other things, I spec- 
ulated as to whether there were any maximum possible temperature 
and, if so, what it might be. 

I tackled this problem by means of elementary algebra, because 1 
have a fixed conviction that all problems can be solved by elementary 
algebra. (I suspect that this conviction arises from the fact that I go 
into a mental collapse when faced with mathematics beyond elementary 
algebra, but this is no time for changing the subject.) As a result, and 
after dealing with temperatures in the trillions of degrees, I concluded 
that there was no maximum possible temperature; at least in theor>\ 

Some weeks after tlie article appeared, I received a letter from a post- 
doctoral research worker at the Institute for Advanced Study at Prince- 
ton; a gentleman by the name of Hong Yee Chiu. 

He gave me his own thoughts on the maximum possible tempera- 
ture, pointing out that my own results arose out of the assumption that 
the Universe was infinite. If the Universe were finite, then it had a finite 
mass. If that finite mass (but for one particle) were converted completely 
into energy and that energy were concentrated in the one remaining 
particle, and if we pretend that “temperature” has meaning in systems 
consisting of but one particle, then we would end with the maximum 
conceivable temperature for the actual Universe. He calculated what 
that temperature would be. It came out to a tremendously high, but, 
of course, not infinite, temperature. 

However, the problem of the maximum possible temperature, under 
the actual conditions of the Universe, continued to occupy his thinking, 
even after he left Princeton and took a position with the Institute of 
Space Studies in New York. According to a letter I received from him, 
dated November 14, 1961 — 

“I switched from the field of elementary particle physics to astro- 
physics then, right after I got my degree. Your article initiated my in- 
terest in the field of super nova. As one knows, the interior of a star is 
hotter than anything one can think of. Will there be an upper limit 
for temperature there?” 

The result of his thinking appeared in papers in “Physical Pieviews” 
and in “Annals of Physics” outlining a new theory of super-nova forma- 
tion. 

I would like, out of sheer proprietary interest, to give you some notion 
of this new theory but, please note, I hereby absolve Dr. Chiu of any 
responsibility for what I say. In his papers, you see, he uses double in- 
tegrals and hyperbolic functions and all sorts of mathematical devices 
that are slightly beyond the range of elementary algebra and that rather 



HOT STUFF 


101 


leave me at loose ends. Consequendy, I may be misunderstanding some 
of the things he says. 

However, I have done what I can and, as I always do, I will begin 
at the beginning. ^ 

The beginning is the neutrino, a subatomic particle with a fascinat- 
ing history that goes back to Einstein. In 1905, in his Special Theory 
of Relativity, Einstein pointed out that mass was a form of energy; and 
that its energy value could be calculated by a simple formula. (Yes; Fm 
referring to e = nic\ and you will find some comments by me on that 
formula in C FOR CELERITAS, F & SF, November, 1959.) 

This formula was applied to alpha particle production, for instance. 
The uranium atom lost an alpha particle and became a thorium atom. 
The alpha particle and the thorium atom together had a mass just slight- 
ly less than that of the original uranium atom. This mass had not dis- 
appeated; it had been converted into the kinetic energy of the speeding 
alpha particle. Consequendy, all the alpha particles produced by a given 
type of atom had the same energy content. (Or, rather, one of a small 
number of different energy contents, for a given type of atom can exist 
at several different energy levels; and, at a higher energy level, it will 
give off a somewhat more energetic alpha particle.) 

All this was very satisfactory, of course. Mass was converted into en- 
ergy and the ledgers balanced and physicists rubbed their hands glee- 
fully. The next step was to show that the energy ledgers balanced in 
the case of beta particle production, too. To be sure a beta particle (an 
electron) was only 1/7350 as massive as an alpha particle (a helium 
nucleus) but that shouldn't affect anything. The principle was the same. 

And yet isotopes that emitted beta particles did not emit them all at 
the same energies, or at a small number of specific different energies. 

What actually turned out to be the case was that beta particles were 
given off at any energy up to a certain maximum. The maximum energy 
was that which just accounted for the loss of mass, but only a vanish- 
ingly small number of electrons attained this. Virtually all the particles 
came off at smaller energies and some came off at very small energies 
indeed. 

The net result was that there was some energy missing, and the led- 
gers did not balance. 

This created, you might well imagine, a certain amount of lip-biting 
and brow-furrowing among physicists; at least as much as it would have 
among bank-examiners. After all, if energy were really disappearing, 
then the law of conservation of energy was broken, and no physicist in 



102 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


his right mind wanted to allow that to happen until every other con- 
ceivable alternative had been explored. 

In 1931, the Austrian-born physicist, Wolfgang Pauli, came up with 
a suggestion. If the electron were not carrying ofiF all the energy that 
was available through mass-loss, then anoAer particle must be. This 
other particle, however, went undetected, so it must lack detectable prop- 
erties. Of these detectable properties, electric charge was foremost, con- 
sequently Pauli postulated a neutral particle. 

Furthermore, the amount of kinetic energy left over in beta-particle 
production was not enough to make a very large particle if it were re- 
converted to mass, especially since much of the energy had to be energy 
of motion. The particle was certain to have only a fraction the mass of 
even an electron and it was quite likely that it had no mass at all. 

Pauli s suggested particle was the nearest thing to nothing one could 
imagine. No charge; no mass; just a speeding ghost of a particle which 
carried oflF the energy that would otherwise be left unaccounted for. 

In 1932, a heavy neutral particle (as heavy as the proton) was de- 
tected and named “neutron."’ Consequently, the Italian physicist, Enrico 
Fermi, suggested that Pauli’s particle, neutral but much smaller than 
the neutron, be called “neutrino” (Italian for “little neutral one”). 


The neutrino turned out to be remarkably useful. Not only did it 
save the law of conservation of energy, but also the law of conservation 
of particle spin and of particle-antiparticle production. 

But was it any more than a Finagle’s Constant designed to make a 
wrong answer right? Did the neutrino really exist or was it just an ad 
hoc device, invented by the agile minds of physicists to keep their rick- 



ety structure of 
supposed reality 
standing? 

The situation 
could be resolv- 
ed if the neu- 
trino were only 
detected; actual- 
ly detected. Yet 
to be detected, 
it had to interact 
with other parti- 
cles and, unfor- 
tunately, neu- 
trinos did not in- 


teract with other 
particles, or at 
least interacted 
so rarely that it 
seemed scarcely 
worth talking 
about. 

It was calcu- 
lated that a neu- 
trino could tra- 
vel through one 
hundred light- 
years of water 
before there was 
as much as a 


HOT STUFF 


103 


fifty-fifty chance of interaction and, as you can well imagine, il is hard 
to set up a tub of water a hundred light-years long. 

However there is a 25 percent chance that it will interact after pass- 
ing through only fifty light-years of water and a 1 2 Vi percent chance 
that it will interact after passing through a mere twenty-five hght-years 
of water and so on. In fact, there is a terribly small, but finite, chance that 
it will interact after passing through, say, six feet of water. 

The chance is so small, however, that to wait for one neutrino to do so 
is foolish. But why work with just one neutrino? A nuclear reactor is 
constantly liberating vast quantities of neutrinos (if they exist). Place 
tanks of water near those and set up detection devices that will detect 
gamma radiation of just the wave length to be expected if a neutrino 
interacts vdth a proton. The chances that one out of a vast number of 
neutrinos will interact within a few feet, becomes rather decent. 

And, as a matter of fact, in 1953, this was accomplished at Los 
Alamos and the existence of the neutrino was proven. It wasn't a Fin- 
agle's Constant at all, but a real live particle. It had no mass and no 
charge and was still the nearest thing to nothing you could imagine, 
but it was there, and that's what counts. 

Now when is a neutrino produced? The best-known neutrino pro- 
ducing reactions are those involving neutron-proton interchanges. When 
a neutron is converted into a proton and an electron, a neutrino is 
produced. When a proton is converted into a neutron and a positron, 
an antineutrino is produced. (The neutrino and antineutrino are dis- 
tinct particles, diflFering in spin, but both are mass-less and charge-less, 
and for purpose of this article I shall lump them both together as neu- 
trinos.) 

By far the largest producer of neutrinos are the stars. 

Consider the sun, for instance. Its power is derived from the conver- 
sion of hydrogen to helium. The hydrogen nucleus is a single proton 
while the helium nucleus consists of two protons and two neutrons. In 
converting four hydrogen nuclei to one helium nucleus, therefore, two 
of the four protons of the hydrogen nuclei must be converted to neu- 
trons, with the production of two neutrinos (and other things, too, like 
positions and photons). For every two hydrogen atoms consumed, then, 
one neutrino is formed. 

Now in order to maintain its energy output, the Sun must convert 
4,200,000 tons of mass energy every second. In converting hydrogen 
to helium 0.75 percent of the mass is lost, so that in order to lose 
4,200,000 tons, 560,000,000 tons of hydrogen must be processed. 



104 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


Losing over half a billion tons of hydrogen every second sounds like 
a fearsome loss, but don’t worry. Some three-fifths of the mass of the 
Sun is hydrogen so that there is well over an octillion tons of hydrogen 
available in the Sun. If hydrogen continued to be consumed at the 
present rate, and no other nuclear processes were involved, the hydro- 
gen content of the Sun would last for some 60,000,000,000 years. — 
And you and I would very likely be dead by then. 

Anyway, the conversion of 560,000,000 tons of hydrogen per second 
means that 2.8 x 10"” hydrogen atoms must be fed into the relentless 
maw of the Sun’s nuclear engine every second and, therefore, 1.4 x 10*" 
neutrinos are produced each second. 

The neutrinos, produced in the Sun's interior, radiate outward in all 
directions. Naturally, almost all of them miss the tiny target presented 
by the Earth, nearly 93,000,000 miles from the Sun. However, it has 
been estimated (according to some work quoted in one of Dr. Chiu’s 
papers) that even on earth, nearly 10,000,000,000 neutrinos from the 
Sun are passing through every square centimeter of cross-section. 

That means they pass through the atmosphere, through the oceans, 
through the crust, through the central core , — through you. They pass 
through you constantly, whether the sky is cloudy or clear and whether 
it is day or night. If it is night, the neutrinos pass through the body of 
the earth and get you anyway. And since they travel at the speed of 
light, the delay in their getting you, over the added distance of the 
earth’s diameter, is only about ¥23 of a second. 

Again, fear not. Let us say that you are constantly presenting the 
maximum surface to neutrino bombardment and that this represents 

10.000 square centimeters (which is generous). One hundred trillion 
(100,000,000,000,000) neutrinos would then be passing through you 
every second. 

You are mostly water and one neutrino must pass through a hundred 
light-years of water for a fifty-fifty chance of reaction. However, when 
you expose maximum surface to the neutrinos, you are only about a 
foot thick. All hundred trillion neutrinos pass through a total of a hun- 
dred trillion feet of water, or roughly 1/300 of a light-year. This means 
that on the average one neutrino will react with a particle within your 
body every 30,000 seconds (a fifty-fifty chance of it anyway), or just 
about every eight hours, while several quintillion neutrinos pass through 
you, in lofty indiflFerence. 

And one neutrino interaction every eight hours? 

Why, in a single minute, 1,200,000 atoms of potassium-40 and 

180.000 atoms of carbon-14 (both naturally present within the body 



HOT STUFF 


105 


and both naturally radioactive) break down, spraying the body with 
beta particles and radiation. 

So forget the neutrinos. 

Now the interior of the Sun is at a temperature of about 10,000,000 
degrees. (Throughout this article I shall mean Centigrade when I talk 
of degrees.) It has to be that high to produce enough expansive force, 
through radiation pressure and dirough the kinetic energy of particles, 
to counteract the enormous pressures produced by gravitation which 
tend to contract the Sun. 

All stars exhibit this same tug of war. Mass (and consequent gravi- 
tational force) tends to contract it; temperature (and consequent radia- 
tional force) tends to expand it. As long as the two are in reasonable 
balance, all is well. 

As hydrogen is converted to helium, however, the four protons of 
hydrogen, comparatively loosely packed to begin with, are converted 
into-the compact two proton/two neutron arrangement of the helium 
nucleiis. The density of the stars center increases and, as more and 
more helium is formed, the concentration of mass and, consequently, 
the intensity of the gravitational field increases. To counteract dhis and 
to retain equilibrium, the temperature of the star’s center rises. 

At some point, eventually, the temperature rises high enough to ig- 
nite the helium nuclei, forcing them into fusion reactions that form still 
more complex nuclei. This process continues, with temperature stead- 
ily increasing, so that successively more complex atoms are produced. 
Finally, iron atoms are produced. 

The iron atoms are about the most complicated that can be formed 
by ordinary stellar reactions. No further increases in nuclear complex- 
ity will produce energy. Atoms more complicated than iron require an 
input of energy. Iron, therefore, represents the dead end of ordinary 
stellar life. 

At this dead end, the star has the aspect of an onion, consisting of 
layers of diflFerent chemical composition. At the very center is the iron 
core, surrounded by a silicon layer, surrounded by a magnesium lay- 
er surrounded by a neon layer, surrounded by a carbon layer, surrounded 
be a helium layer, surrounded by a hydrogen layer that forms the sur- 
face of the star. 

Each layer constantly undergoes fusion reactions producing heavier 
nuclei that are added to the layer beneath, with the iron core the net 
gainer and the hydrogen surface the net loser. The gravitational field 
continues to increase but now there is no additional energy formation 
possible at the center to balance it. 



106 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


As the center continues to heat up, some crucial line is passed and 
the star suddenly collapses. In so collapsing, the sudden increase in 
pressure on the outer layers, where fusable fuel still exists, hastens the 
fusion reactions, producing a vast outflux of energy that succeeds in 
blowing the star to kingdom come. 

The result is a huge supernova (see THE SIGHT OF HOME, F & 
SF February, 1960) out of the energy of which even iron atoms are 
fused to produce still more complicated atoms; all the way up to uran- 
ium at least, and very likely up to californium. The explosion spreads 
these heavy elements out into space and new stars and stellar systems 
that are formed (like our own) will possess small quantities to begin 
with. 

Does this mean that every star is fated to become a supernova at some 
latter stage of its life? Apparently not. 

The more massive a star, the more intense its gravitational field and 
therefore the higher its internal temperature and the greater its lumi- 
nosity at a given stage of its nuclear-reaction cycle. (This is the ''mass- 
luminosity law’' announced by the English astronomer, Arthur S. Ed- 
dington, in 1924. He was the first to calculate the enormous central 
temperatures of stars.) Apparently, in order for a star to reach the point 
where a supernova explosion is set off, it must start with at least 1.5 
times the mass of our Sun. This is called "Chandrasekhar's limit" after 
the astronomer who first worked it out. So whatever will happen to our 
Sun, it will never go supernova. It can’t ever get hot enough. 

But what is the exact nuclear process that leads to this spectacular 
collapse and explosion? And, in particular, what about the actual tem- 
peratures at the center of a star about to go supernova? That certainly 
is the highest temperature actually reached in the Universe and that 
is what Dr. Chiu is after. 

Well, stars get rid of energy in two ways. They produce electro- 
magnetic radiation and they produce neutrinos. The behavior of the 
two is different. Electromagnetic radiation interacts strongly with matter 
so that the gamma rays produced a the center of the Sun are forever 
striking protons and neutrons and alpha particles and being absorbed 
and re-emitted and so on. It is a long and tedious process for radiation 
10 make its way out from the center of the Sun to its surface. 

The best indication of this is that the Sun’s surface is a mere 6,000 
degrees. You may consider this hot, and, by Earthly standards, it is hot. 
Still, remember that the Sun’s surface is only 400,000 miles away from 
a large body of matter that is at a temperature of 10,000,000 degrees. 



HOT STUFF 


107 


If there were nothing between the Sun's core and a point 400,000 
miles away, any matter at that point would itself be at a temperature of 
millions of degrees. For matter at that point to be a a mere 6,000 de- 
grees indicates what a superlatively excellent insulator the substance 
of the Sun is and how diflBcult it is for radiation to get through that 
substance and to escape into space. 

The energy carried off by the neutrinos, however, behaves differently. 
Neutrinos simply streak out of the Sun's center, where they are pro- 
duced, at the speed of light. They completely disregard the ordinary 
matter of the Sun and are beyond its substance in less than three sec- 
onds. 

In the case of the Sun, however, the fraction of the total energy that 
escapes as neutrinos is rather small. The energy loss by neutrino escape 
results in some slight coohng of the Solar interior, of course, but that is 
made up for by a slight contraction (slight enough to be indetectable) 
of the Sun. 

And in the stages beyond helium, neutrino production becomes even 
more unimportant if proton-neutron interchanges alone are taken into 
account. 

Thus, suppose we begin with 56 hydrogen nuclei. These are con- 
verted into 19 helium nuclei, which, in the later stages of stellar life, 
are in turn finally converted into a single iron nucleus. 

The 56 hydrogen nuclei consist of 56 protons. 

The 19 helium nuclei consist of 28 protons and 28 neutrons, segre- 
gated in two proton /two neutron groups. 

The 1 iron atom consists of 26 protons and 30 neutrons, all crowded 
into a single nucleus. 

In going from the hydrogen to helium, then, 28 protons must b2 
converted to 28 neutrons with the production of 28 neutrinos. 

In going from helium to iron, only 2 more protons need be con- 
verted to neutrons, with the production of only 2 neutrinos. 

It would seem then that, except in the initial hydrogen-to-helium 
stage, neutrino production could be ignored; and since it plays little 
role in the functioning of the Sun where hydrogen-to-helium is the big 
thing, it should most certainly play little role in the function of stars 
advanced into helium-burning and beyond. 

This is where Dr. Chiu's new theories come in. Dr. Chiu suggests 
two new manners in which neutrinos can be formed. He suggests that 
electromagnetic radiation itself may interact to form neutrinos. In ad- 
dition an electron and a positron may interact to form them. 

These reactions happen so rarely at low temperatures, such as the 



108 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


miserable 10,000,000 degrees of die Sun’s interior, that neutrino for- 
mation by the Chiu reactions can be ignored. As the temperature rises, 
however, this formation becomes increasingly important. 

By the time a temperature of one or two billion degrees (the tempera- 
ture required for the formation of iron nuclei) is reached, neutrino for- 
mation by the Chiu reactions is considerably more rapid than neutrino 
formation from proton-neutron interchanges. This means that a sizable 
portion of the stars radiation, which, as radiation, can only escape from 
the star with excessive slowness, is, instead, converted to neutrinos which 
go zip!! and are gone. Neverthless, the star can still, albeit with diflBculty, 
replace the lost energy by non-catastrophic contraction. 

By the time a temperature of 6,000,000,000 degrees is reached, 
however, neutrinos are formed at such a rate that the heat of the vast 
stellar interior is carried off in a matter of fifteen or twenty minutes 
and the star collapses! VVhoosh! There’s your supernova. This means 
that 6,000,000,000 degrees is the practical upper limit of temperature 
that can be built up in this universe. The true hot stuff of the Universe 
is the material at the center of the stars and this can never reach 6,000,- 
000,000 degrees without initiating an explosion that cools it off. The 
question I posed in THE HEIGHT OF UP is thus answered. 

Dr. Chiu goes on to suggest that if this theory is correct, it ought to 
be possible to detect stars that are about to go supernova by the quantity 
of neutrinos they put out. As super-novahood is approached, the rate, 
according to Dr. Chiu, reaches 10^® per second. This is a quadrillion 
times as many as the Sun is producing. Even at a distance of 100 light 
years, the number of neutiinos reaching an observer from the direction 
of the potential supernova is at least a thousand times greater than that 
which reaches us from the Sun. 

‘Therefore,” says Dr. Chiu, in one of his papers, “the establishment 
of a neutrino monitor station in terrestrial or spatial laboratories may 
help us predict forthcoming supernovae.” 

So there you are! Now, I may be prejudiced, but I think this theory 
makes so much sense that it will be adopted and praised by all astrono- 
mers. And when Dr. Chiu achieves the world-wide fame that I can see 
now should be his by right, I can hug myself with the pleasant knowledge 
that an article of mine started it all. 

Of course, no one will know this except Dr. Chiu and myself — and 
the Gentle Readers of this article — and strangers I intend to button- 
hole in the street — and people who listen to the television spot-an- 
nouncements I intend to purchase — and — — 



BOOKS 



Once again we’re forced to 
apologise to the authors, who are, 
after all, the star-attractions of 
this department, for our failure to 
list their books and names at the 
head of the column. There are far 
too many. We are attempting a 
little spring-cleaning to close out 
the titles which were omitted from 
past-columns for various reasons. 

FROM THE OCEAN, FROM THE 
STARS, by Arthur C. Clarke, Har- 
court. Brace & World, $4.50, is 
an omnibus of two full-length 
novels, ‘The City and the Stars,” 
anl “The Deep Range;” and twen- 
ty-four short stories originally col- 
lected as “The Other Side of the 
Sky.” This is the fattest, juiciest, 
single-author collection (515 
pps.) we have ever seen, and, in 
view of Mr. Clarke’s lofty position 
as one of the all-time greats of sci- 
ence fiction, is the best buy going. 

GRAY LENSMAN, by Edward 

E. Smith, Ph.D., The Gnome 
Press, $3.50, recounts the further 
adventures of the immortal Kim 
Kinnison v. The Bestial Boskoni- 
ans, aided (the Gray Lensman, 
that is) by the saintly Arisians, 
and full of “stilettoes of irresist- 
illy penetrant energy which not 
even a Q-type helix could with- 
stand.” We don’t care who knows 


it, we love Dr. Smith’s space-op- 
eras the same way we love baby 
parades, beauty contests. Acad- 
emy award ceremonies, and all 
other forms of dedicated Ameri- 
can com. 

THE GREAT FLYING SAUCER 

HOAX, by Coral E. Lorenzen, The 
William-Frederick Press, $4.45, 
is not, as the title would lead you 
to expect, an exposure of the cal- 
culated frauds and very human 
self-deceits that have gone into 
the creation of this legend. On the 
contrary, Mrs. Lorenzen believes 
and marshals her data and photo- 
graphs quite cogently. We still 
don’t believe, but we recommend 
this excellent text to believers and 
doubters alike. 

LOCH NESS MONSTER, by Tim 
Dinsdale, Chilton Co., $4.50, is 
another splendid documentation, 
in this case of one of the most tra- 
ditional legends in existence. Mr. 
Dinsdale has assembled photo- 
graphs, drawings, eye-witness ac- 
counts, expert analysis, etc. We 
must say he has compiled impres- 
sive support for his belief in the 
monster, and again we recommend 
this book to believers and doubters 
alike. Alas, we still belong to the 
latter. 

CATSEYE, by Andre Norton, 


109 



no 

Harcourt, Brace & World, $3.25. 
Miss Norton was somewhat an- 
noyed with our comments on her 
historical novel, shadow hawk, 
last year, so we'll confine ourself 
to a summary of the plot. Troy 
Horan is deported from his ovm 
planet, relocated on the planet 
Korwar, gets a job in a pet shop, 
and discovers fhat he can com- 
municate with some of the rare, 
imported creatures. Then his boss 
is murdered, Horan is suspect, es- 
capes, and engages in plot and 
counterplot to free himself and his 
dumb friends from — what? Read 
it and find out. 

PROJECT 12, by Thomas 
Grouling, Vantage Press, $2.75, 
Is a first novel. Mr. Grouling 
writes a simple story of the at- 
tempt to put a man into space at 
Cape Canaveral, led by fearless 
leader Commander Blaise Thom- 
as, and doomed to disaster by in- 
ternecine jealousies and hostili- 
ties. Mr. Grouling pleads that 
. . Competition should not 
create feuds among colleagues but 
rather stimulate them to pit their 
efforts against the challenging 
mysteries of the unknown." Mr. 
Grouling is a dreamer. On the day 
The Bomb drops on New York 
City, 

M a c y ’ s 
will still 
not tell 
Gimbels. 

the al- 
ley GOD, 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

by Philip Jose Farmer, Ballantine 
Books, 50^, is a collection of three 
short novels: ‘'The Alley Man," 
which originally appeared in this 
magazine, a story of a man who 
claims to be the immortal last of 
the Neanderthals; 'The Captain's 
Daughter," one of Mr. Farmer's 
excursions into the realm of the 
sexually micabre, this time an 
alien world of parasitism which 
turns humans frightfully randy; 
and "The God Business," a sort of 
all-egorical farce. As always, Mr. 
Farmer's name guarantees brilliant 
science fiction. 

the unsleep, by Diana and 
Meir Gillon, Ballantine Books, 
50^, is a novel about the social 
persecution of Peter Gregory, a 
visionary who holds out for a little 
quiet and sleep in a future world 
of demented cacophony. You and 
your girl aren't supposed to sleep 
even after you-know-what. 

THE WALL AROUND THE 
WORLD, by Theodore R. Cogswell, 
Pyramid Books, 40^, is a collec- 
tion of ten stories ranging from 
science fiction to fantasy, includ- 
ing such celebrated items as "The 
Specter General," "Thimgs," and 
the tide story. To our mind, Mr. 
Cogswell's terrifying "The Burn- 
ing," is the 
most mag- 
n ificent, 
and worth 
the price of 
the book 
alone. 




BOOKS 


111 


21st century sub, by Frank 
Herbert, Avon, 50^, was original- 
ly published as “The Dragon in 
the Sea/’ It is the story of an 
atomic-powered submarine of the 
next century, crackling with tech- 
nical jargon and slang, but a little 
limp in the plot. 

THE LANI PEOPLE, by J. F. 
Bone, Bantam Books, 40^, is all 
about Dr. Jac Kennon who takes 
a job on the planet Kardon as vet- 
erinarian to tend the livestock, 
which are the Lanis, beautiful hu- 
manoid women who are just like 
Terran women except that they 
have tails. Social and sexual prob- 
lems arise. We beg science fiction 
authors to drop this nonsense. 
There are the same odds on the 
people of an alien world having 
sexual characteristics matching 
ours as there are on Maxwell’s 
Demon going into action. 

TOMORROW AND TOMORROW, 

by Hunt Collins, Pyramid, 35(^, 
extrapolates current pornocratic 
aspects of our culture into a future 
in which a girl who wants to know 
how to become a writer is advised : 
“First shorten your skirt by about 
three feet. T^row away your 
blouse and bare your breasts. Get 
some tints and cosmetics and find 
a drug habit.” Naturally there’s a 
social war between these “Vikes” 
(Vicarious) and the ‘TRees” (Real- 
ists). Breasts get a lot of attention. 

We’ve feuded with Pyramid 
Books in the past, so it gives us 
tremendous pleasure to praise and 


recommend their wonderful new 
science series, called “The Worlds 
of Science,” which has just ap- 
peared, is very nicely printed and 
bound, and a bargain at 75^ ea. 
Included in the series are : 

THE HUMAN BRAIN, by John 
Pfeiffer, physiology, ranging from 
the anatomy and evolution of the 
brain to modern experiment in 
the treatment of psychotic disor- 
ders through chemistry. 

LIVING EARTH, by Peter Farb, 
biology, a fascinating account of 
the underground ecology of For- 
ests, Grasslands, and Deserts; 
readable even for this department 
which suffers badly from entomo- 
phobia. 

CHEMISTRY CREATES A NEW 

LIFE, by Bernard Jaffe; not a con- 
ventional text, but a discussion of 
the astonishing influence chemis- 
try has had on modern life 
through synthetics, wonder drugs, 
trans-PIutonian elements, etc. 

THE ROAD TO MAN, by Herbert 
Wendt, a charming gallimaufry 
of assorted facts, anecdotes, su- 
perstitions, experiments, and odd 
behaviour in the world of Natural 
History. Mr. Wendt writes with 
vivacity, and after some other 
books of this month wc particu- 
larly appreciated his chapter on 
Frog Pandemonium. It seems that 
each spring the frogs come out of 
their muddy hibernation madly 
randy to reproduce. They do, too, 
but there isn’t a breast in the 
chapter. — Alfred Bester 



Mrs. Joseph Wilhelm III of Louisville, (Ky.) is the mother of 
Douglas and Richard, and very sweet. What is more to the 
point, she can write, too. In her second appearance in these 
pages she writes of space travel, but not of voyages through 
space alone. “You must take what you want in life, but you 
must pay for it," says an old proverb. Kate Wilhelm tells of 
two men who took what they wanted— and of the price each 
paid— and went on paying. 


THE MAN WITHOUT A PLANET 

by Kate Wilhelm 


It was inevitable that they 
should meet one day. From the 
Iowa farm to the university, to the 
practical field work in Arabia, 
Canada, and Tibet, and now to 
the new fields of Mars, each step 
had led unalterably to this second. 
Rod accepted it fatalistically as if 
for years he had been preparing 
for that one moment when he 
stepped through the curved hatch- 
way and his eyes by-passed all 
else and stopped on the man in 
seat Thirteen. The eyes that re- 
turned his stare were slaty, blank, 
hopeless, not appealing, not apol- 
ogizing, not anything; merely eyes 
that saw or didn’t see — but didn’t 
flinch. Rod let his gaze drop and 
mumbled an indistinguishable 
something to the man who nudged 
his legs from behind. 

During the day chairs were de- 


magnetized and moved and fast- 
ened once more in new patterns 
like atoms encircling a nucleus, 
now around a card table, now 
around the community dining ta- 
ble, now before the quartz port 
that let them gasp at the first sight 
of Earth fully illuminated. Chair 
Thirteen alone was permanently 
fastened. 

When the atomic clocks indi- 
cated enough hours for the day to 
have ended, the chairs became 
beds back in their original places 
and opaque screens turned each 
chair-bed into a tiny private room. 
It was first elass traveling, dumb- 
bell style. 

Before Rod succumbed to the 
mandatory sedadon a faint, al- 
most invisible, glow that the psy- 
chologists insisted upon played 
tricks on his eyes and he saw again 



THE MAN WITHOUT A PLANET 

his first glimpse of the dumb-bell 
hanging motionless against the 
black of space. The patterned 
black and white squares of the 
balls on either side of the connect- 
ing rod rearranged themselves, 
and became a pair of slate grey 
eyes that stared without expres- 
sion. 

‘'Hydroponics/’ a thick, shape- 
less man said, “section one-aught- 
nine-seven. What’s your line?” 

Rod answered automatically, 
“Geology, mine exploration.” It 
was the third day and he was feel- 
ing depressed and unfriendly; the 
very solidity of the hydroponics 
man was an irritant to his nerves. 
He became aware of the changing 
pattern of the circular room as 
the three women on the passenger 
list detached themselves from one 
another and regrouped. One of 
them smiled brightly at him and 
eased her chair beside his. 

“Geology I” she exclaimed. 
“That’s always fascinated me!” 

As she rushed headlong into 
conversation. Rod felt his dislike 
for her threaten to break out on his 
face, his whole body demanding a 
smoke. And he wasn’t even an 
habitual smoker. Her eyes were the 
color of peeled, over-ripe grapes. 
They stopped and narrowed and 
he knew she was watching the 
man from seat Thirteen as he was 
released for his mid-day pacing. A 
silence fell throughout the room, 
only to be thrust back with sus- 
tained effort, and now the throb 


113 

of voices had a new, higher pitch 
as the owners purposefully pre- 
tended ignorance of the fact that 
the prisoner was receiving the 
amount of exercise doctors had 
agreed was essential for physical 
well being. 

The moist purple eyes of the 
woman veiled whatever she was 
thinking. “Filth!” she mouthed 
looking past Rod. 

With a dry bitter taste on his 
tongue Rod adjusted his chair and 
leaned back closing his eyes, fight- 
ing something he couldn’t visual- 
ize much less verbalize. 

Sometimes the curtain around 
Thirteen was drawn for hours at a 
time, until one of the ship’s crew 
opened it. Only so many hours of 
privacy were allowed him. Other 
times he singled out an individual 
and his eyes followed that one un- 
til he drew his own curtain. Most- 
ly he sat, or reclined, and looked 
at nothing. He could have been 
any age from thirty to sixty-five, 
but they knew he was forty-nine. 
His hair was white, his skin 
tanned by the ship’s lamps, his 
eyes clear. A perfect specimen of 
man, never sick, never needing 
more than the annual check-up 
that was his by law. A man who 
could expect to live another forty 
years, barring an accident to the 
dumb-bell itself. 

Fifth day. Rod and one other 
passenger, Williard Benton, had a 
vague, surface friendship that 
helped relieve the monotony. They 



114 

talked intermittently throughout 
the days, but the greatest pleasure 
of the trip was to be had in the 
precious, rationed time in the 
'hath room”. Rod watched the 
hand of the timer in its inexorable 
sweep and when it clicked into the 
final moment, he felt cheated. It 
was more than the familiar feeling 
of cleanliness, he reflected, as the 
moist warm air filled his pores; it 
was the feeling of space, of being 
alone with all that room. In there 
one could move his arms about; he 
could sing and hear an echo rever- 
berate ever so slightly; he could 
see farther than the width of his 
shoulders or the length of his legs 
and still be completely alone. It 
was space, private space, that 
made the bath room the most treas- 
ured luxury of the trip to Mars. It 
was a bit of the familiar Earth he 
had left; a bit of the life he would 
rejoin; in there he could forget he 
was thousands of miles out in a 
cold, empty nothingness where he 
was the alien. It took so little to 
recapture what was of Earth, of 
home. 

Back in his chair-bed with the 
drawn curtain and a film ready to 
view, he felt a quick stab of re- 
morse that he felt so exhilarated 
and yet peaceful after his short 
breathing spell when that other 
poor devil. . . . Somehow his 
finger was on the button marked 
Thirteen and without being con- 
sciously aware of it, he pushed. 
Immediately he regretted his own 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

Stupidity and he hit the cancel 
button, but not, he was certain, be- 
fore a call registered on a similar 
panel of the chair arm of Thirteen. 
He lay rigidly alert, waiting for a 
sign, for a return call, for any in- 
dication that his action had been 
noted. There was nothing, and 
gradually he relaxed again. 

Sixth day, seventh, eighth. All 
were alike, all like the first. There 
was nothing but the routine of 
staying alive until the ship put in 
on Deimos. Yet for Rod each day 
became an interminable endur- 
ance contest. Add a million to in- 
finity, he thought, and infinity’s 
all the same for that. Add one day 
to a lifetime, and the lifetime 
could still be infinity. He cut ofiE 
the confused thoughts and found 
his eyes burning from the intensity 
of his stare at the man in seat 
Thirteen. 

It wasn’t possible for a human 
to maintain that calm quiescence, 
that exterior of absolute accept- 
ance. The others, also, seemed to 
have a growing awareness of him, 
awareness tinged with resentment 
against him, as if his stoicism were 
an affront to them personally. 
Conversations were more spora- 
dic, less good natured, arguments 
more heated and bitter. This de- 
spite the tranquilizers that were 
part of their diets. Rod and Will 
Benton lingered over it during one 
of their frequent talks. 

*What would we be after six 
months of this?” Benton mused 



THE MAN WITHOUT A PLANET 


115 


doing knee bends effortlessly. 

'T)ead,” Rod snapped. Even 
Benton’s amiable, but determined, 
exercising grated on him. The oth- 
er fellow never really exercised; he 
only walked, back and forth, back 
and forth. 

Abruptly he asked, 'Will, what 
do you think about him?” 

There was no surprise on the 
short man’s face as he reached 
high over his head and held the 
pose to a silent count of his own 
makuig. "Must be hell,” was all he 
sai4- 

mean, about what he did. I 
suppose there never was any doubt 

it 

"None. He was quite matter of 
fact about the whole thing.” His 
voice was coolly impersonal as if 
talking about a figure who had 
lived and died during the Ren- 
naissance. 

"Yeah,” Rod grunted, chewing 
his lip, thinking abstractedly that 
he’d become a chain smoker when 
he could get them again. He had 
known. He had been over and 
over the testimony, had memo- 
rized every word ever printed con- 
cerning it. The man never both- 
ered to deny anything, admitted 
that he had foreseen the possible 
consequences, and then had gone 
ahead. Rod sighed and regarded 
his index finger as if it were a 
thing apart from him, as if it were 
responsible for the way it lingered 
over the button, and even — three 
times — pushed it. 


Benton dropped into his chair 
and studied Rod with a quizzical 
expression. "It’s got you, hasn’t it? 
Him, I mean.” 

Rod merely grunted again, and 
he continued. "Don’t let it. It’ll 
tear you apart. It’s all decided, has 
been for twenty-three years, and 
nothing you could do would 
change any of it. The UN has re- 
fused to take it up at all for seven 
years in a row now. And it’s 
just.” 

"I know, but that poor devil 

II 

"That poor devil,” Benton 
drawled, but the tone of his words 
did little to mask the murderous 
hatred that lurked beneath, "killed 
seventeen men in his crew. None 
of them needed to die. He killed 
to get into space. He killed to stay 
there, out front where the glory 
money was. By murdering UN 
space personnel from six coun- 
tries he almost got the United 
States blown off the earth. And 
believe me, together they could 
have done just that. I know; it was 
my business to know.” 

Rod frowned and with an ef- 
fort erased it and attempted a grin. 
"Ok, friend,” he said, "the cure 
took. Punishment to fit the crime, 
and all that. Ok.” 

Benton leaned forward and « 
patted his arm lightly. 

Rod lay behind his curtain after 
lunch and thought about it. 

Twenty-five years ago it had 
been. The fourth ship to aim for 



116 

Mars, and it was failing, as had 
every expedition before it. There 
were mutterings that this one was 
it. One more false start and the 
whole economic structure of the 
UN Space Development Agency 
would collapse, it was rumored. 
Eighteen men looked failure in the 
face and of them one saw the way 
to success. One, but only one, 
could ride the ship to Mars and re- 
turn it to the space station. For one 
there would be enough air in the 
meteor-ruined storage tanks. 
Eighteen of them could return to 
Earth as failures, but one could 
make the entire trip. One 
did. And he returned to Earth,, the 
UN flag firmly planted on the 
rocky surface of Mars, his only 
mission in life accomplished. 

Because of him the United 
States had been forced to turn the 
other cheek. Would it have been 
so if he had been French, or Pol- 
ish, or English even? But he had 
been an American. All the long 
dormant fears of nuclear war were 
fanned once more. All the rivalry 
among the big powers stirred, and 
zombi-like left the flimsy tombs of 
treaties and agreements to stalk 
again among nations. Russian and 
Chinese rockets quivered, grew 
erect, and waited for the push of a 
button. American rockets slid 
from deep graves, proud but de- 
feated as nation after nation 
hurled rocks of insult at the migh- 
ty now humbled. And the Ameri- 
cans turned their bewildered 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

wrath upon the one who had 
brought shame to bvo hundred 
million. The planets number one 
criminal was handed over to the 
UN. 

It was the Chinese delegate, flat 
eyed and expressionless, who sum- 
moned the wisdom of Confucius 
and the cruelty of Khan to pro- 
pose the sentence. He was to be 
sent back to the space he had 
fouled, to live the rest of his years 
between worlds. 

Twenty days. Twenty-five. The 
ship moved without a murmur, 
drawing closer to the rust-colored 
planet where radars stared at its 
progress with open mouthed, blank 
looks. The plunge toward the sur- 
face was checked and the retro- 
rockets changed the course for the 
landing. They would be there be- 
fore dinner. Curiously Rod, a non- 
drinker, desired a stiff drink above 
all else. Earlier he could have had 
it, but now, alone, sealed off and 
strapped into his bed, the thirst 
for a drink overwhelmed him. 

What impossible demands did 
his body make? Rod’s finger found 
Thirteen with no help from his 
eyes and this time he held it until 
there was an answering light. 

“Are you all right?” 

There was a prolonged silence, 
but it was the silence of a man 
breathing in hurried gasps as if 
each might be the last. 

“Can you hear me?” Rod spoke 
slowly as if to a foreigner unfa- 
miliar with his dialect. 



THE MAN WITHOUT A PLANET 


117 


Y . . yes. Who. . . 

“Never mind. Would you do it 
again ?“ His voice was quick and 
husky to his own ears as if every- 
thing depended on that one an- 
swer, as if his entire life had been 
arranged so that he might have 
this instant in which to ask it. He 
was unaware that he was holding 
his breath. 

There was another silence, and 
then a faint, *Tes.” 

“You really think they would 
have called it all off?” he demand- 
ed harshly. ‘Tou actually think 
you -«aved space for the world ?“ 

“The UN was falling apart 
, , . Three ships had been wiped 
out . . . There was no more 
money appropriated . . . What I 
think now, what I knew then . . . 
I don't know any more. Maybe 
they would have sent the fifth, 
and the sixth, and however many 
it would have taken. I don’t know 
now. But I knew then! We all 
knew! Don’t you remember. . . ? 
Who are you? Do I know you?” 

“No! They brought you back to 
Earth once and you got away. I 
saw you and told them. Do you 
remember?” 

He did fully, the scene un- 
dimmed by the intervention of 
twenty years. The man ran and 
fell and his arms were out- 
stretched, fingers clawing at the 
ground, coming away with hands 
full of the rich loam where corn 
would stand in two months. The 
seven year old boy saw him with a 


feeling of revulsion and disgust 
and hatred so strong that he was 
sick in his hiding place among the 
trees at the edge of the field. The 
man didn’t protest or struggle 
when they came and took him, 
but his hands tightened over the 
two balls of compressed earth. 

Rod passed his hand over his 
eyes and the re-run faded until it 
was gone. He thought in the in- 
terval the man had turned ofE, but 
the voice came once more. 

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Sorry it 
was you, that it was anyone.” He 
didn’t say goodby, but Rod knew 
that he was gone, that he wouldn’t 
answer again. 

The landing was smooth and a 
slight gravity became real instead 
of the effect of the slow adagio the 
ship danced to the applause of no 
one. Rod didn’t look in the direc- 
tion of seat Thirteen as the passen- 
gers milled about the curved door 
being sealed against the airlock of 
Deimos-port. As he approached 
the door he turned and snapped 
his fingers in annoyance. 

“Forgot my samples,” he mut- 
tered and walked back to his chair. 
Two plastic encased packets of 
Earth-type dirt that were to be 
aged under the pitiless atmos- 
pheric conditions of Mars lay on 
his chair seat. Carelessly he picked 
them up and slipped them into his 
pocket. Benton turned to wave as 
he stepped through the airlock. 

Rod passed close by seat Thir- 
teen and as he did, he let fall on it 



118 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 


one of the small packets of Iowa’s 
loam. At the door he turned and 
for a moment the slate grey eyes 
seemed to glitter a bit, perhaps in 
recognition, or even forgiveness, 
and then the hand moved and the 
curtain was around the chair-bed. 

Rod stepped out and looked up 
through the transparent top of the 
airlock at the world waiting for 
him. He didn’t look back at the 
dumb-bell again. Anyone watch- 


ing him would have thought he 
was murmuring to himself about 
the great, desolate world hanging 
over his head, but his thoughts 
were, “He understands. A man, 
even a man in a boy’s body, has to 
do what he must, and be able to 
live with it afterwards.” 

The bleakness left his eyes, 
grey like his father’s, as he strode 
quickly and confidently through 
the airlock. 



A MAN NAMED THIN 
WAGES OF CRIME 
THE GATEWOOD CAPER 
THE BARBER AND HIS WIFE 
ITCHY THE DEBONAIR 
THE SECOND-STORY ANGEL 
IN THE MORGUE 
WHEN LUCK'S RUNNING GOOD 


A MAN NAMED THIN and other stories by^DASHIELL HAMMETT 


Eight tense and absorbing short stories by the champion of the American 
mystery are now available for the first time in book form. Each of these Ham- 
mett “unknowns” exhibits the unique and varied talents of the master of the 
detective short story, the creator of Sam Spade, Nick Charles, and the Con- 
tinental Op. Introduction and editorial notes by Ellery Queen. Only 50^. 


Mercury Press, Inc., 347 East 53 Street, New York 22, N. Y. F7 

Send me A MAN NAMED THIN and other stories. I enclose 50<Ji. 

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Address 

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Max Kearny, the amateur occult investigator, says here of 
himself, “You know . . . I’m just an art director in an ad 
agency. All this ghost stuff is only a hobby.” Ron Goulart 
(reports our ace agent Mr. Pettifogle) is also an art director 
in an ad agency. When questioned about his own hobbies, 
he grew very vague, changed the subject, and offered to 
treat Pettifogle to a ride on the cable-cars and a steam 
beer. . . . One cannot help but wonder what Goulart does 
with his spare time in Frisco, San Francisco— that is, when 
he is not charming girls, eating up the high hills in his red 
Mercury, and extolling in picture and text the glories of a 
certain brand of Philippine cigars (“All hand-rolled”). 

o' 

UNCLE ARLY 

by Ron Goulart 


Tim Barnum shoved the rab- 
bit ears all the way down into the 
portable TV set and pulled the 
plug out of its socket. It had no ef- 
fect on the reception. *‘See,” he 
said to Max Kearny. Tim lifted the 
still playing set oflF its low black ta- 
ble and carried it across his apart- 
ment. Dropping it down at Max' 
feet he said, ‘‘Does it look like 
something in your line?” 

Lighting a fresh cigarette Max 
looked down at the bright screen. 
“It sure isn't something for a re- 
pairman.” 

“But is it occult, Max?” Tim 
reached out and found his glass. 


“Unless NBC has been holding 
back.” Max pushed tbe set care- 
fully away from him and watched 
the picture. 

On the screen a heavy set mid- 
dle aged man was sitting on a stool 
playing a guitar. He was, and had 
been for several minutes, singing a 
song. 

“Hurray for Jeannie, 

So sweet and fair. 

No one like her anywhere. 

Don't wait and don’t search. 

Just take Jeannie to the church.” 

“Same as last week,” said Tim, 
finishing his drink. “And the week 
before.” 


119 



120 

“Not much of a show/' Max 
stood up. 

From the set came the man's 
voice, talking now. “Married bliss, 
there’s nothing like it. You’ll find it 
really has bachelorhood beat. So 
don't be left out. Marry Jeanne 
Horning soon." 

“The supply is limited," said 
Tim, pouring himself another glass 
of bourbon. 

“Who’s Jeanne Horning?" asked 
Max. Fog was coming in under the 
Golden Gate Bridge. 

“A girl I used to know. She had 
sort of a thing going about me. 
Finally I dropped the whole busi- 
ness. I wasn’t ready to settle 
down.’’ 

Max turned from the window 
and pointed at the fat man on the 
set, who was singing again. “And 
who’s this guy?" 

“I don't know." Tim set his glass 
down and grabbed up the TV set. 
He carried it to a corner and left it 
with its picture to the wall. The 
singing went on. “Can you stop it, 
Max?" 

Max lit a new cigarette from the 
old one. “You know, Tim, I’m just 
an art director in an ad agency. 
All this ghost stuff is only a hob- 
by.” 

“There’s no other girl like Jean- 
ne Horning," said the set. “See for 
yourself. There’s no girl nicer. than 
little Jeannie." The singing started 
up again. 

“How long does it last?" Max 
asked. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“A half hour, every Tuesday." 

“Where’s Jeanne work?” 

“In the rental library at Woll- 
ter’s Department Store." 

“Probably not much in the way 
of occult reference books there. 
You think she’s behind this." 

“Her father." 

“Oh. What’s he do?" 

“He’s a spirit medium." 

Max frowned. “Huh?" 

“Chester M. Horning. He used 
to be a trick rider in the circus but 
he developed an allergy to dander. 
That’s how he got into this racket.’* 

“You think he’s a fake?" 

“They all are." 

“Not all," said Max, nodding at 
the set. There was a click and the 
set went quiet. It was eight thirty. 

Tim inhaled sharply and picked 
up his drink. “That’s that until 
next week." 

“What else does this ghost — 
we’ll call it one for now — do?" 

“Well," said Tim, “there’s the 
show every Tuesday. Then there 
are the radio commercials. They 
come on every day. In the morning 
before I go to the bank. And when 
I get home. Minute versions of 
what you heard." 

“Somebody wants you to marry 
Jeanne Horning I guess." Max 
brushed his crew cut down and 
reached for his cigarettes. 

“You did see it, though," said 
Tim. “At least I’m not cracking." 

“Sure. It’s pretty certainly a 
ghost. What other media does it 
use?" 



UNCLE ARLY 

“Just radio and TV. And some- 
times I find a slogan on my bed- 
room wall. ‘Marry Homing in the 
morning!' and things like that." 

Max walked over to the TV set 
and tapped it with his foot. “What 
sort of seances does her father 
hold?" 

“I don't know. She was always 
after me to go to one. But I didn't 
want to. That's another reason for 
our breaking up. How about hyp- 
nosis?" 

“For her?" 

“No, I mean could all this be 
some land of mass hallucination?" 

“Pretty small audience for that.” 
Max leaned against the wall. “You 
still hear from Jeanne?" 

“I haven’t seen her in nearly a 
month, a few days before this stufiE 
started. But she calls now and then 
still." 

“Can you get us invited to a 
seance? I’d like to see Horning 
operate.” 

‘mat for?" 

Max crumpled 
his empty cigarette 
pack. “It might help 
me get some line on 
this ghost and see if 
Horning is behind 
it." 

“Suppose he 
isn't. Then on top 
of the ghost I'll be 
involved with Jean- 
ne again." 

“Just one se- 
ance." 


121 

“Just one firing squad." Tim 
looked from Max to the silent set 
“Okay. I'll call her and say a 
friend of mine is interested in her 
father’s work. That should do it." 

Max nodded and turned the set 
around. He plugged it in and ar- 
ranged the antenna. Checking his 
watch he said, “Mind if I watch 
part of a show. One of the com- 
mercials I did a storyboard for is 
on." 

Tim shrugged. “No, go ahead." 

Max turned on the set. 

Jeanne Horning was a slim girl 
with shoulder length auburn hair. 
-She was able to open the door and 
escort Tim and Max down a long 
hall and into a curtained living 
room without speaking or making 
any facial sign. 

“How’s Ralph?" asked Tim, sit- 
ting in the straight back chair she 
moved back from the table for 
him. “Ralph's Jeanne's pet cat." 

“We had him 
fixed." Jeane mov- 
ed another chair 
away from the 
round mahogany 
table. 

Max sat down. 
“Thank you." The 
gold fringe from the 
table cloth hung 
down in his lap. 

“I don't want 
any foolishness, 
Tim." Jeanne left 
them. 



em»h« 


122 

“She's got herself under con- 
trol," Max said, getting out his cig- 
arettes. 

“Looks like. Could be an act, 
but Jeanne s not usually like that." 

The lit match flipped out of 
Max’ hand and was snuflFed out in 
mid air with a small popping 
sound. 

“Smoke is a disturbing influ- 
ence," said the small, deeply 
tanned old man who parted the 
beaded curtains and stepped into 
the room. He had a full head of 
fine white hair and great tangled 
white eyebrows. “I am Chester 
Horning." 

“Hello, Mr. Horning," said Tim. 
“This is my friend. Max Kearny." 

“I know." Horning adjusted a 
padded wing chair at the head of 
the table. He placed a silver pocket 
watch and a secretary’s note book 
next to the empty water glass that 
was already there on the table. 
Seating himself he said, “You be- 
lieve in the supernatural, Mr. 
Kearny?” 

“In many cases." 

“Tim never credited the little 
things I showed him while he was 
dating my daughter. Although, for 
instance, I was able to provide 
some excellent examples of levita- 
tion." 

“A coffee table came down on 
my foot,” said Tim. 

Horning weaved his small sun- 
burned hands in the air. “Enough 
of negative thinking for tonight. 
The others are coming." 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

Jeanne was smiling now, hold- 
ing the arm of a tall wide shoul- 
dered young man of about thirty. 
With them was a thin grey-haired 
woman in a fur trimmed black suit, 

“Mrs. Yewell," said Horning, 
rising. “And your son has decided 
to attend also. I’m glad to have you 
aboard for a seance, Preston." 

Preston Yewell smiled vaguely, 
moving away from Jeanne. He took 
the chair next to his mother. “I’m 
still a bit sceptical, sir." 

Jeanne touched his shoulder. 
“You’ll see. Pres. I know you’re 
not going to be as negative as some 
people.” 

“Watch your feet when the ta- 
ble goes up,” Tim said. 

Yewell grinned. “My name’s 
Pres Yewell and I’m a Junior Ac- 
count Exec with Lumbard-Joseph 
and Associates. What do you guys 
do?” 

They told him. 

Yewell looked at Max, his eyes 
narrowing. “Your name. Somebody 
told me something about some hob- 
by of yours.” 

“Quiet please," said Horning, 
shifting in his chair, working his 
back against the upholstery but- 
tons. “Someone is here now." 

Jeanne turned out the overhead 
lights. After lighting a hurricane 
lamp on the mantle she walked 
softiv to the table and sat next to 
Yewell. 

“Remember now," said Horning, 
“no smoking. My contact is here." 
His eyes closed and his eyebrows 



UNCLE ARLY 


123 


drooped. ‘Well, folks,*' he said in 
a new voice, “perhaps you wonder 
why 1 called you here." The voice 
laughed. “Hi, Jeannie. How you 
doing?" 

“Fine, Uncle Arly." 

“1 sure hope so. How are things 
with the boy friend?*’ 

“Fine at the moment." 

“You aren’t sitting next to him." 

“1 am. Uncle Arly." 

“Oh, there’s a new one. Some- 
times my view from up in spirit 
land gets a little fuzzy. Well, let’s 
get down to cases," Horning, eyes 
tight shut, sat up and turned his 
head toward Mrs. Yewell. “You 
have a problem, honey." 

“Most certainly I do. Uncle Ar- 
ly. Here’s the situation. The wom- 
an who used to do our cleaning 
was run down by a diaper laundry 
truck and I’m certain that she — ’* 

As Mrs. Yewell outlined her 
problem Tim whispered to Max, 
“It just occurs to me." 

“The voice sounds familiar." 

V “Sure, and Jeanne told me a lit- 
tle about Uncle Arly. He died 
about four years ago. Guess what 
business he was in?" 

“Advertising." 

“Yeah. He’s the one on my Tues- 
day night show." 

“Looks like he’s an honest-to- 
gosh real ghost, too." 

“No tricks, huh?" 

“I don’t think so," said Max. The 
whole business felt real. 

A heavy gold and red trimmed 
tambourine appeared in the air 


over Uncle Arly. It floated slowly 
down the table and whacked Max 
over the head. 

“Ole!" said Uncle Arly’s voice. 
“So much for you ghost gumshoes. 
I’ll send you a slate memo on your 
problem, Mrs. Yewell. I don’t hke 
that boy’s vibrations." 

Horning shook his head and 
rubbed his eyes. “Jeanne?" 

His daughter frowned at Tim 
and Max and then turned the room 
lights on. “What a wet blanket you 
turned out to be, Tim." 

“That’s it," said Yewell. “I just 
thought of it. Kearny, you’re an 
amateur ghost breaker." 

“I should have sensed it," said 
Homing. “I had twinges but I 
thought it was just my rose fever 
acting up." 

“You’d both best go," said Jean- 
ne, spreading the curtains and 
pointing into the hall. 

Outside in the street it was 
starting to rain. “Well," said Tim, 
“Jeanne seems to be getting over 
me. 

“We’ve got to convince Uncle 
Arly of that," said Max, stepping 
into an apartment doorway to 
light a cigarette. “Or get rid of 
him. I’ll try to have something 
worked out by next Tuesday, in 
case he shows up." Smoking 
thoughtfully he followed Tim to 
his car. 

Max always went to W. R. Ped- 
way’s second hand book store for 
occult ad\ice. It was Pedway who 



124 

had first introduced Max to the 
field. After work the next day Max 
went there to tell Pedway about 
Tim Bamum s ghost. 

Pedway was on a ladder in the 
back of the store. “Look at that. I 
reduced this set of the complete 
works of George Makepeace Towle 
to two dollars and it still hasn’t 
moved.” 

Max leaned against the 25^ ta- 
ble and frowned up at the small 
wrinkled man. “Friend of mines 
being haunted.” 

Lighting his corncob pipe Ped- 
way came halfway down the lad- 
der. “Having a sale on the novels 
of Alice Montgomery Baldy. You 
interested in them? I bid on them 
at an auction.” 

“Why?” 

“They were inside a steamer 
trunk I wanted. Kick the cat off 
that chair and tell me about the 
ghost.” 

Max nudged Pedway’s large 
orange cat onto the floor and took 
the wicker chair. “This ghost ap- 
pears every Tuesday night at eight 
o’clock.” 

‘That’s pretty early in the eve- 
ning for a ghost.” 

“It’s prime TV time. The ghost 
materializes inside my friend’s TV 
set.” Max lit a fresh cigarette and 
told Pedway more about Uncle 
Arly. 

“What the hell,” said Pedway, 
scratching his straight standing 
grey hair. “Don’t you read any of 
the occult books I loan you.” 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

“Sure,” said Max, “but since I 
joined the Book-of-the-Month-Club 
I have to skim some of them.” 

“Holy Moley,” said Pedway. 
“It’s so simple. Look, you’ve got the 
ghost in the set. All you do is bot- 
tle it up.” 

“Beg pardon?” 

“Wait a second,” said Pedway. 
He dropped down behind the 
counter. He brought up a dull- 
green book and searched through 
it. “The good thing about this 
book is that it has colored pictures. 
Of course, the spells never come 
out as good as they look in the 
photos. Yes, here it is.” 

Max tore a piece of brown wrap- 
ping paper from the roll on the 
counter and copied down the magic 
formula Pedway was pointing to. 
“What does it do exactly?” 

“Well, look at the picture.” 

“That’s just a retouched photo of 
an imp in a bottle.” 

“The spell works as a cork. Once 
you have the imp or spirit inside 
the container, this keeps him 
there.” 

“Will the TV set still work?” 

“No, you have to throw it in the 
river.” 

“A $200 TV set? Don’t you 
have a cheaper spell?” 

“This is the one that works. 
Max.” 

“I’ll tell Tim.” Max stood up. 
“Does it have to be a river?” 

“The bay will do.” 

Max watched the cat slide down 
a stack of Britannicas. “This spell 



UNCLE ARLY 


125 


keeps the ghost in there perma- 
nently?'' 

'The spell's only guaranteed for 
two years, but that should be 
enough time." 

'Til let you know on Wednesday 
how it worked." 

"I know how it will work," said 
Pedway, starting back up the lad- 
der. 

Wednesday noon Max met Tim 
in a hofbrau near his agency. 

'Tou think I'm safe then?" Tim 
asked. 

Max sipped his dark beer. "I 
don't know. I was all set to try 
the spell out last night. Then 
Uncle Arly doesn't appear." 

"Maybe he's off for the summer," 
said Tim, giving his plate half a 
turn. "He must have been some ad 
man, to keep at it four years after 
he died." 

Max took a cigarette. "I think 
we'll just have to wait. The radio 
spots have stopped, too?" 

"Everything. They stopped a 
few days ago." 

A handful of silverware dropped 
down on the table. Then Preston 
Yewell, carrying a tray of food, sat 
in the empty chair. "May I join 
you?" 

"Sure." 

Yewell put both hands around 
his coffee mug. 'Tou're an expert 
on the occult, Kearny." 

"Somewhat." 

"Ever come across," said Yewell, 
leaning in, "a haunted billboard?" 


Max nodded. "Heard of a few." 

"The billboard across from my 
bus stop is haunted. It used to tell 
you to eat Kellogg's Rice Krispies. 
But this morning while I was stand- 
ing there alone, waiting for the 45 
bus, it blurred over. It showed a 
picture— pardon me, Barnum — of 
Jeanne Horning. The slogan read: 
'Don't be a fool, Yewell. Do it 
now!' " 

"Have you been hearing any 
radio spots like that?" 

Yewell exhaled sharply. "Every 
seven and a half minutes. Singing 
commercials." 

"That's real saturation," said 
Max. 

"And I don't even have a radio," 
said Yewell, jerking up his cup. 
"Just a TV." 

"Is Uncle Arly on that?" 

Yewell blinked. "By God, it is 
him. Now that you mention it I 
thought I knew that voice." 

Max unfolded a piece of brown 
wrapping paper. 'Tou planning to 
go ahead and marry Jeanne right 
away?" 

Yewell straightened up. "My 
mother would explode." 

"How often does Uncle Arly 
broadcast on TV?" 

"Two or three times a night." 

"Maybe we can help you," said 
Max. 

Preston Yewell pushed open the 
door of his apartment. "The com- 
mercials are always louder than the 
rest of the show,” he said. 



126 

Uncle Arly was singing and 
playing. Max lit a cigarette and 
moved into the room. Standing 
across from the TV set Max took 
out his piece of wrapping paper. 

‘"Hey,” said Tim Barnum, taking 
a chair, you get him in color.” 

*lt's a color set,” said Yewell, 
closing the door. “Well, Kearny?” 

Max didn't answer. 

“If you like girls, you’ll really 
like Jeanne,” said Uncle Arly from 
inside the set. 

Max took a piece of chalk from 
his coat pocket and drew a few 
symbols on the wall over the 
screen. 

“My landlady hasn’t forgiven 
me for my last party,” said Yewell, 
kneading his eyebrows. “And now 
we’re defacing the walls.” 

Max frowned over his shoulder. 
Then he put bis cigarette lighter 
on top of the set. From an inside 
pocket he brought out a business 
envelope. The cellophane window 
showed bright yellow powder. 
Tossing a handful of the stuff at 
the lighter flame Max jumped 
back and read the spell. 

“If it doesn’t work,” said Yewell, 
dropping into a high-backed rat- 
tan chair, “I know I’w not going to 
clean up the mess.” 

Uncle Arly had an accordion 
now and was yodeling. 

Max knelt, grabbing his lighter 
back as he did, and pulled the plug 
on the set. 

Inside Uncle Arly was dancing 
a polka. 


FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION 

'Tim,” said Max, “open the 
door and then give me a hand car- 
rying this thing out.” 

“The set absolutely has to go?” 
asked Yewell, not moving. 

“It’s part of the spell,” said 
Max, gripping one side of the big 
cabinet. He and Tim carried it out. 

“You’ve been a great help,” Yew- 
ell called. 

Tim closed the door and they 
worked the set downstairs. 

Uncle Arly was silent now. 

On the street he said,” Hey, 
what are you two boys up to? 
Some kind of school boy prank?” 

“We’re going to keep you locked 
away for awhile,” said Max. 

“You can’t interfere with free 
speech.” 

They got the set into the back 
seat of Tim’s car. “You’ll be at the 
bottom of the lake at the Palace of 
Fine Arts,” said Max. ‘Tou can 
talk to anybody you want.” 

'Tou know,” said Tim, taking 
the wheel, “it’s sort of cruel.” 

“He’s been haunting you, then 
Yewell.” 

“Yewell deserves it.” 

“Maybe so. But a detective just 
does his job.” 

“You’d think Jeanne could do 
better than that,” said Tim, put- 
ting the key in the ignition. 

“You’d think anybody could.” 

“Tell you what,” said Tim. 
“Suppose I keep Uncle Arly in a 
closet with a blanket over him. 
Could you let him out in a month 
or two?” 



UNCLE ARLY 


127 


“Sure,” said Max, shaking out a 
cigarette, “there's a spell for that, 
too.” 

“It might be a good idea to drop 
in on Jeanne without Uncle Arly 
being around. And without him, 
see, her dad s not going to be so 
confident about his medium busi- 


ness.” 

“Sounds fine,” Max said. 

Tim agreed and started the car. 

In the back seat, trapped in the 
television set, the ghost of Uncle 
Arly got out his guitar and began 
singing a love song that had been 
popular in the late 1920's. 


Through Time And Space With Ferdinand Feghoof: Lll 

The humans of Onderdonck III were decidedly decadent. The fe- 
lines, on the contrary, had mutated and progressed very rapidly. 
When Ferdinand Feghoot arrived there, in 3708, cats had almost 
all the good jobs, especially in Government service, and relations 
between the two species were definitely strained. 

At this juncture, a young chap named Thomas Meow-wrreow 
was arrested for causing the death of a human called Petrus V. Par- 
snipp, a pioneer balloonist. Another human, Abercorn Sludge, had 
allegedly paid him to loosen the cords holding the ballast to Par- 
snipp’s balloon, thereby causing it “to soar rapidly, to become cov- 
ered with ice, and to crash with fatal results to the aeronaut.” 

Defense attorneys on Onderdonck III had to share the punish- 
ment of the accused if convicted, so poor Thomas could find no one 
to aid him. Only extreme verbal brilliance, tlie lawyers all knew, 
could dazzle a jury enough to procure an acquittal, and they des- 
paired of their talents. ^ 

But Feghoot came forward. In court, he laughed at the seem- 
ingly overwhelming evidence marshalled by the Prosecutor. Then 
he spoke the great sentence which won the case instantly. 

“It is well known,” declared Ferdinand Feghoot, “that Tom un- 
tied weight for no man.” 

— Grendel Briarton (with thanks to R. S. Coplan) 
See Feghoot advertisement in Marketplace ** page 128. 





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for $1. (our selection). Dept. CN, Mercury Press, 
P.O. Box 271, Rockville Centre, N. Y. 



YOUR MARKET PLACE 


A market is people— alert, intelligent, active people. 

Here you can reach 168,000 people ( averaging three readers per copy 
—56,000 paid circulation). Many of them are enthusiastic hobbyists— 
collecting books, magazines, stamps, coins, model rockets, etc.— actively 
interested in photography, music, astronomy, painting, sculpture, elec- 
tronics. 

If you have a product or service of merit, tell them about it. The price 
is right: $2.50 for a minimum of ten (10) words, plus 250 for each 
additional word. 

Advertising Dept., Fantasy & Science Fiction 

347 East 53 St., New York 22, N. Y. 


129 




In this issue 


• • • 


... is a long story by Vance Aandahl, about whom by now we need 
say no more, seeing that he is the very same Vance Aandahl whose 
When Lilacs Last In The Dooryard Bloomed was cover story to our 
May issue. His writings have attracted wide attention and well- 
deserved acclaim, and it has even been conjectured that he is actually 
a collaboration between Jack Vance and Raoul Dahl. He is actually 
not. Also back is the talented Terry Carr, with a unique story which 
deftly and richly manages to combine time travel, space travel, and ab- 
normal psychology — and to say something new about all three. 
Throwing a different (and delightfully whacky) light on this last 
subject is gifted Sasha Gilien. Joanna Russ (of whom we hope to hear 
much, much more) gives a darkly-glowing and beautiful picture of 
vampirism, Kate Wilhelm investigates crime and punishment and 
remorse in a future where interplanetary space is no barrier, and Zenna 
Henderson turns a while from her chronicles of The People and con- 
siders a problem of communication on which the fate of a race — but 
which one? — or more than one — may depend. Ron Goulart, who can 
move with the times as well as the next man, tells of a haunted tele- 
vision set. Truman Capote and Carl Brandon make their first appear- 
ances here (Brandon, his first professional appearance anywhere), the 
former with a story — as chill and lonely as the city streets it moves 
through — of a woman who sold the only thing she had which anyone 
would buy; the latter has fun and games with a funny (but not gamey) 
account of a work-bound lover and his care-free rival. And Our 
Doctor Asimov and Our Mr. Bester are their usual loveable and re- 
warding selves. Aren’t you glad you bought this issue? 


Coming soon . • • 

• , . G. C. (for Gary Cotton — there! We told!) Edmondson, who 
knows Mexico infinitely better than most of us Gringos know the 
United States of Northamerica, with a story about Mexico called 
The World Must Never Know. The object of the verb here is neither 
country, but a most curious matter of identity and iceboxes — and other 
things. There is an Otis Kidwell Burger conte, this one — though 
quite original in tone and conception — reminiscent of the classical 
The Circus of Dr. Lao. And, from the bayou-all country, hung with 
legends and Spanish moss, Rosel George Brown puts in a welcome 
appearance with a curious mushroom omelette. 


130 




BASIL DAVENPORT, writer 
and editor, judge of the 
Book-of-the-Month Club, 
writes: have been a fan 

of science fiction all my life, 
and of The Magazine of 
Fantasy and Science Fiction 
for all its Ufef Ffb^SF gives 
us some of the best writing 
in the field, and the field 
is one of great importance.” 



LOUIS ARMSTRONG 

writes: ‘7 believe The Magazine 
of Fantasy and Science Fiction 
appeals to me because in it 
one finds refuge and release 
from everyday life. We are all 
little children at heart and 
find comfort in a dream world, 
and these episodes in the 
magazine encourage our building 
castles in space.” 


CLIFTON FADIMAN, writer 
and editor, judge of the 
Book-of-the-Month Club, 
writes: ”Each of us has his 
own special escape-reading. 
Mine is science fiction. To my 
mind Fantasy and Science 
Fiction regularly supplies the 
finest the field has to offer 
in the way of short fiction.” 


ORVILLE PRESCOTT, literary 
critic and author. Book 
Review Editor for the New 
York Times, writes: “People 
who think that their literary 
l.Q. is too high for them 
to enjoy the Magazine of 
Fantasy and Science Fiction 
don't know what they are 
missing. The number of well- 
written, ingenious and enter- 
taining stories it regularly 
publishes is astonishingly 
high.” 

HUGO GERNSBACK, 

pioneer in science fiction 
publishing, writer and editor, 
writes: “Plus qa change, plus 
c’est la mime chose — is a 
French truism, lamentably 
accurate of much of our 
latter day science fiction. Not 
so in the cyclotronic Magazine 
of Fantasy and Science Fiction 
which injects sophisticated 
isotopes, pregnant with 
imagination, into many 
of its best narratives.” 


THE MA0A2IN E OF 

Fantasy and 
Science Fiction 







and editor, judge of the 

Book-of-the-Month Club, 
writes: “/ have been a fan 
of science fiction all my life, 
and of The Magazine of 
Fantasy and Science Fiction 
for all its fife. F<!^SF gives 
us some of the best writing 
in the field, and the field 
is one of great importance.” 


LOUIS ARMSTRONG 

writes: ‘7 believe The Magazine 
of Fantasy and Science Fiction 
appeals to me because in it 
one finds refuge and release 
from everyday life. IVe are all 
little children at heart and 
find comfort in a dream world, 
and these episodes in the 
magazine encourage our building 
castles in space.” 


CLIFTON FADIMAN, writer 
and editor, judge of the 
Book-of-the-Month Club, 
writes: “Each of us has his 
own special escape-reading. 
Mine is science fiction. To my 
mind Fantasy and Science 
Fiction regularly supplies the 
finest the field has to offer 
in the way of short fiction.” 


ORVILLE PRESCOTT, literary 
critic and author. Book 
Review Editor for the New 
York Times, writes: “People 
who think that their literary 
I.Q. is too high for them 
to enjoy the Magazine of 
Fantasy and Science Fiction 
don’t know what they are 
missing. The number of well- 
written, ingenious and enter- 
taining stories it regularly 
publishes is astonishingly 
high.” 

HUGO GERNSBACK, 

pioneer in science fiction 
publishing, writer and editor, 
writes: “Plus ga change, plus 
c’est la mime chose — is a 
French truism, lamentably 
accurate of much of our 
latter day science fiction. Not 
so in the cyclotronic Magazine 
of Fantasy and Science Fiction 
which injects sophisticated 
isotopes, pregnant with 
imagination, into many 
of its best narratives.” 


T H It MAGAZINE OF 

Fantasy and 
Science Fiction 



Science Fiction 


the MA GA2I N E of 

Fantasy and 


SUMMER 

ISSUE 


juKy 


TRUMAN CAPOTE 
\ ZENNA HENDERSOll 


RON GOULART VANCE AANDAHL 


AAC ASIMOV KATE WILHELM